This watercolour reflects a number of Hamilton's preoccupations during his student years at the Slade School of Art (1948-51). His primary source books at the time were a text on growth processes in nature, On Growth and Form by D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson (1913, republished 1942) and Siegfried Giedion's Mechanization Takes Command (1948). He was also interested in Paul Klee's Pedagogical Sketchbook. The pictures he made during these years were 'abstract' in the sense that he was preoccupied with using minimal elements to articulate the picture surface. Investigating Cézanne's method of structuring the surface thorough straight linear relationships, Hamilton realised that no single mark or agglomeration of marks could remain optically static on a surface. The paintings he made near the end of his studentship 'used little stick-like units which are located by a consideration of the plane and its given edges, but which happily accept the three-dimensional implications that inevitably arise' (Hamilton, p.12). As he was predisposed towards the representation of illusory space, perspective formed a major part of his student interests. The encircled black spot is a diagrammatic symbol used often in these paintings to mark vanishing points.
Richard Hamilton, Collected Words, London 1982, pp.12-13
Richard Morphet (ed.), Richard Hamilton, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1992, pp.144-6
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