California Hard Edge

Artist Spotlight: Frederick Hammersley

February 9, 2018

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

In the autumn of 1967 Frederick Hammersley gave a series of lectures in Claremont, California in which he laid out and elaborated on what he considered to be the seven essential elements of the painter’s language: shape, line, value, color, form, pattern, and texture. Over the course of these talks, Hammersley continually returned to the importance of shape above the other elements. “Of all the tools – shape – I feel is needed before you can do anything else,” he asserted. “Value, color, pattern and the rest cannot exist unless there is an edge where they begin and end. This edge of the shape, this boundary can be of many different kinds, either clearly defined, or soft and vague. The character of the edge can either emphasize or reduce, but it never destroys the shape.”   

Karl Benjamin and Frederick Hammersley

February 14, 2014

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

The upcoming February 23, 2014 Modern Art & Design Auction features paintings by each member of the 1959 “Four Abstract Classicists” exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum at Exposition Park (now LACMA). Two of the youngest Abstract Classicists at the time of the first show, Karl Benjamin and Frederick Hammersley arrived at the threshold of a new art movement through contrasting pathways, but their resulting works have come to define the California Hard Edge Movement.

Karl Benjamin Early Works

May 4, 2013


Once again, LAMA is proud to offer a selection of paintings from Southern California’s own Karl Benjamin, the Hard Edge painter who immersed his canvases in a dense vocabulary of color. Two of these paintings come from a family that shared a close relationship with Karl going back to his days as an elementary school teacher in the Chino Unified School District. Click to read more about how the consignor acquired these two early paintings from the artist (one originally bought for $200) and to see a picture taken in 1964 of one of the paintings in their home.

Just In: Karl Benjamin #23

March 6, 2013

As we continue to remember Karl Benjamin and his profound artistic legacy, we are always excited to see his works come through our auctions. We recently received on consignment an oil on canvas, #23, from 1965, which will be offered in the May 19, 2013 Modern Art & Design Auction. #23, bright and pristine, was acquired directly from the artist and comes from the Collection of James Hueter, a lifelong friend and contemporary of Benjamin’s. The unbroken provenance combined with the near pristine condition makes this a rare opportunity to acquire one of the best California Hard Edge paintings to hit the market in years.

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