In Memoriam: Richard Hambleton (1952-2017)

November 8, 2017

Artist Richard Hambleton passed away on October 29, 2017 at the age of 65.  Born on June 23, 1952 in Vancouver, Canada, Richard Art Hambleton graduated from the Emily Carr University of Art & Design in Vancouver. After receiving his degree, Hambleton stayed in Vancouver to open the Pumps Center for Alternative Art before moving to New York City in 1980.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Richard Hambleton, Untitled (Shadow Cat), 2005
March 5, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction

Although Hambleton’s street art practice started in Vancouver, it was in New York City that his work started to garner attention. Large, black, ominous figures, reminiscent of menacing shadows adorned buildings across the Tri-City area. The artist also started to put these figures on canvas and paper, which fueled international interest and gallery representation. His aesthetic evolved dramatically over the years, including periods in which he painted ocean-waves, rainstorms, and landscapes.

Some of Hambleton’s closest friends and artistic collaborators included Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Kenny Scharf. Club 57, a bar in the East Village, was the known hangout for such artists, whose work could be seen on street corners and blue-chip galleries simultaneously.

Following the death of Basquiat and Haring, Hambleton fell into several difficult years of drug abuse, health problems, and occasional homelessness.  In the final years of his life, Hambleton was able to find the necessary balance in order to continue painting.  LAMA was fortunate enough to offer two paintings from 2005 in our auction, and look forward to sharing his hauntingly creative artworks to our collectors even after his untimely passing.

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