About this artwork

This work is based on a publicity photograph for a 1948 B-movie called 'Shockproof'. The photograph shows a woman who has just killed a man. In the original he lies hidden behind the desk. Hamilton has adapted the source material by covering some elements, such as the murderer, but retaining others, like the blood on the floor. He has confused reality and illusion by using a photographic reproduction of a real wood veneer on the side of the desk drawer and a painted wood-graining effect on the front. The bright panels of colour in the background are reminiscent of the geometric art of Mondrian. Hamilton has deliberately combined conflicting styles and meanings.

Updated before 2020

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  • artist:
    Richard HamiltonEnglish (1922 - 2011)
  • title:
    Desk
  • date created:
    1964
  • materials:
    Oil and collage on photograph on panel
  • measurements:
    62.50 x 89.00 cm; Framed: 99.10 x 72.40 x 2.50 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased 1980
  • accession number:
    GMA 2155
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • glossary:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton