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Richard Hambleton (American/Canadian, b.1954)
LOT ID: 80384
Vietnam, 1983

Oil, Mixed Media, on canvas with plastic toy soldiers
95.25 х 40.25 in. (241.94 x 102.24 cm.)
Signed, and dated, verso
Lot description
In 'Vietnam', Richard Hambleton expands on his distinctive "shadowman" concept by utilizing the figures in this mixed media depiction of the Vietnam War. Hambleton first painted the "shadowman" silhouettes on street walls in high traffic areas of cities to startle unsuspecting pedestrians in the early 1980s. The black, life size figures could be perceived as shadows of curious strangers or reflections of the viewer's own company. Hambleton utilizes the "shadownman" figures to engage the audience in interactive environments. Here, Hableton creates a dynamic composition through textured layers of oil of paint and incorporated plastic toy soldiers that explode across the canvas in a bloody battle scene. As the toy soldiers are armed with rifles, so too are the life size “shadowmen” who participate in the scene as if they were the viewer’s own reflection.

Richard Hambleton (b. 1954) is a Canadian painter currently living and working in the Lower East Side of New York City. Hambleton is remembered as one of the major artists, who, along with Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, had great success coming out of the New York City art scene in the 1980s. Hambleton’s work is often compared to graffiti art, though Hambleton himself considers this work to be “public art.” Hambleton is best known for his “Mass Murder Concept” and his “Shadowman” paintings. The “Mass Murder Concept” was a series of works where Hambleton would paint the police chalk outline around bodies of volunteer “homicide victims” and splash red paint within the outline, leaving behind a realistic crime scene. His later “Shadowman” paintings of the early 1980s resemble life-sized silhouetted images of strange people. Hambleton painted these “Shadowmen” in other cities as well, including in Paris and, as some believe, on the Berlin Wall. In 2011, Andy Valmorbida and Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld presented a retrospective of his work in New York, NY. His work was also featured in the seminal 2011 Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA exhibition "Art in the Streets."
Vietnam by Richard Hambleton
  • Vietnam by Richard Hambleton
  • Vietnam by Richard Hambleton
  • Vietnam by Richard Hambleton
  • Vietnam by Richard Hambleton
  • Vietnam by Richard Hambleton
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