Catalogue entry

P07657 Self-portrait 1951


Etching with aquatint and roulette 11 3/4 × 7 3/4 (300 × 196) on paper 14 3/4 × 10 7/8 (375 × 277), printed by the artist at the Slade School of Art, not editioned

Inscribed ‘Richard Hamilton’ b.l. and ‘Self-portrait’

Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid) 1982

Lit: Hamilton no.42, repr. p.35

This print combines two aspects of Hamilton's work: his use of autonomous marks, the making of which in itself determines the form of the work, and his use of biological - i.e. natural - subject matter, drawn from Thompson's observation of the way things grow, as a visual language. Its third important aspect is described by Richard Morphet: ‘Hamilton's mouth is a sea-urchin, his ear a shell, his tie a flat worm regenerating after section, and one side of his face is defined by a bull-sperm. The Arcimboldesque principle points up the fact that in all Hamilton's Self-portraits ... the artist becomes one with the substance of his current obsessions’ (Morphet, p.23).

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986