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Father of Pop Art Hamilton dies

Richard Hamilton, the artist credited as the father of Pop Art, has died at the age of 89.

Hamilton, famous for his paintings, collages and sculptures, had been ill and died early on Tuesday morning, the gallery which represented him said.

The British artist's 1956 collage, Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing?, featuring a bodybuilder holding a lolly with the word pop on it, is seen as the first statement of Pop Art.

Another famous work is his painting Swingeing London (1968-69), showing Rolling Stone Mick Jagger shielding his face in the back of a police car following a notorious police drugs raid.

Hamilton also designed the plain white cover for the Beatles' White Album of 1968.

The cover, a white square with the embossed name of the band and a grey number in the corner, contrasted with the colourful and busy cover of the preceding album, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, designed by Peter Blake.

Hamilton told how Sir Paul McCartney called him to ask him to design the new cover.

The artist said: "I thought it would be appropriate to present an album that was just white. Paul was doubtful about it being completely empty so I suggested that it would be fun to number each copy so that it would have the appearance of being a limited edition. I asked how many copies the band expected to sell, and they said about eight million. I made a quick calculation that we would need seven digits."

Until just a few days ago, the artist had been working on a major museum retrospective, which was due to travel to Los Angeles, Philadelphia, London and Madrid.

Gallery owner Larry Gagosian, who represented the London-born artist, said: "This is a very sad day for all of us and our thoughts are with Richard's family, particularly his wife Rita and his son Rod."

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