At Art Basel, Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert has a Gerald Laing Ben Day work on offer for £550k. Navy Pilot from 1963 is an image taken from an American magazine of the time. Laing made the work as the first picture he painted on his 1963 trip to the US. Laing was staying in Robert Indiana’s Coenties Slip studio. The This was also the first time Laing combined flat primary color with the half-tone Ben-Day dots.
Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert also has Eduoardo Paolozzi’s Collage (1948) which is on offer for £380k, an important both for its early date and for its scale. It is a finished exhibition piece, intended as a collage, though many of Paolozzi’s collages are smaller in scale and were meant as studies for other works.
At Art Basel this June, Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert is exhibiting important work by the leading British Pop artists, including Eduardo Paolozzi, Richard Hamilton, Richard Smith, Joe Tilson, David Hockney, Allen Jones, Antony Donaldson and Gerald Laing. Highlights of the stand will include a rare and unusually early, large scale 1948 collage by Paolozzi; two important works by Allen Jones – Male and Female Composition, painted in Larry River’s studio in New York’s Chelsea Hotel in 1964, and You Dare (1967), one of his three dimensional ‘step’ paintings; an iconic 1965 memorabilia portrait by Peter Blake; a Ben-Day dot Navy Pilot painting by Gerald Laing; and a work from Richard Smith’s iconic series of cigarette packet paintings (to be included in a forthcoming loan show of early paintings by the artist at Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert in November 2018).
The work of these artists reflects the radical and progressive character of art being produced in Britain during the 1950s and 60s and Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert are proud to present a selection by the leading proponents of this movement which, though perhaps more often associated with the Warholian glitz and glamour of 1960s New York, did in fact find its earliest voice in Britain a decade earlier.
In the aftermath of World War II, Britain embarked upon the rebuilding of its razed cities and the societies so profoundly affected by conflict. Amid the chaos and deprivation, there arose a remarkable group of young artists united in their determination to take the art of the nation forward in an entirely new direction. Under the aegis of Eduardo Paolozziand Richard Hamilton, now recognised as among the earliest exponents of British Pop, this group carved a fresh identity for British art. Through a series of influential lectures and ambitious exhibitions held at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) and the Whitechapel Gallery in London, they together shaped a new aesthetic that better encapsulated the experience of living in such a rapidly changing, post-war Britain.
Artists such as Peter Blake, Richard Smith, Allen Jones, David Hockney and Gerald Laing, first sought inspiration in the prosperous, consumerist paradise advertised across the Atlantic. They looked upon the exotic visual imagery of the ‘American dream’ with a sense of longing and repackaged it for British consumption albeit laced with a very distinctive sense of wit and irony. Everything from toasters to cars, confectionery and beauty products, was splashed across the glossy pages of magazines or touted on television by glamorous models; a lurid and optimistic vision of the future that proved impossibly alluring to a younger generation of British artists still dependent on rations in a country bankrupted by war. The British Pop artists borrowed liberally from the marketing language of post-War Americana and, in so doing, instigated a shift away from the traditional parameters of what constituted art. The move was further facilitated by new techniques such as collage and commercial screen printing, which broke down previously established distinctions between art and design, mass production and individuality, and popular and high culture.
From establishing Pop Art in Britain to introducing new digital technologies at the end of the Twentieth Century, these artists helped to visualise the modern world, leaving a cultural footprint that has not been equalled since.