In memory of Richard Hambleton

Posted on November 03, 2017

The tragic news of Richard Hambleton's death reached us at Vroom &Varossieau at the beginning of this week. We are deeply saddened by this tragic news and our thoughts and prayers are with Richards friends, family and close ones. We wish them all the best in these trying times.

With Richard a little bit of Street Art history also dies. The enigmatic artist burst on the scene alongside a group of confidants and collaborators that included Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Kenny Scharf. Hambleton soon became known for his signature “Shadowman” motif, a splotched, black, leering figure that appeared on the walls of buildings in downtown Manhattan. Richard was a visionary and pioneer and paved the way for so many of the artists we love today. He was unapologetic in his art and his life. He kept working through bad health and almost up until his death, leaving behind a impressive and iconic body of work.

Unfortunately, in the art world it is not uncommon for true artistic genius to only be recognized posthumously. For a large part, this will most likely be true for Richard Hambleton as well. However, it does bring us great joy to know that Richards work and legacy is starting to be truly recognized by the art world, it's institutions and far beyond. Between the successful and critically acclaimed  "Shadow man" documentary circulating the film festivals and opening theatrically on the first of December and his work on display in the MoMa New York, for the  “Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983." exhibition, Hambleton's current success and appraisal is both undeniable and well deserved. It was a privilege to have worked with such an inspiring artist and his loss is one that will be felt all through the art world. 

"And the Shadow Man is waiting round the bend
Oh, the Shadow Man
Ohooooo oooo
Shadow man, shadow man
It`s really you, it`s really you, it`s really you
He's the shadow man"
 - Shadow Man by David Bowie -

(photo by Søren Solkær)