Richard Hamilton Dead: 'White Album' Designer and Pop Art Pioneer
Richard Hamilton Dead: 'White Album' Designer and Pop Art Pioneer

Pop Art pioneer Richard Hamilton, best known for coining the name of the pop culture-heavy art movement and for designing the cover jacket for The Beatles' sprawling "White Album," has died in Britain of undetermined causes. He was 89.

A gallery representing Hamilton said the artist died early Tuesday at an undisclosed location in Britain, according to the AP.

Often called the "Father of Pop Art" for his groundbreaking use of commercial and pop culture imagery in his artwork, Hamilton's seminal work in the 1950s was "Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So Different," a collage showing a naked couple in a cluttered-with-products home. In the piece, the man is holding a lollipop marked "Pop."

His design for "The White Album," released in 1968, was as uncluttered as you can get. A white square with the band's name displayed slightly off center. He designed the collage inside as well, which included random shots of the band. Among them, a naked John Lennon in bed next to Yoko Ono and Paul McCartney submerged in a bathtub.

Hamilton spoke to The Guardian last year about partnering up with the Fab Four for their epic double album. He was showing his work with celebrated London art dealer Robert Fraser when he met the group in the mid-1960s.

"He [Fraser] had these parties where you became acquainted with the Beatles and Mick Jagger. It was Fraser who suggested me as a designer for the Beatles' new album. I remember that Paul [McCartney] rang me. He was running the show then. So I went to see him. I was sitting there in an outer office, and it was quite amusing at first because it was full of girls in short skirts and long boots. But then I thought: I'll give him five more minutes. Anyway, finally, he was ready. He wasn't sure about my idea at first but in the end he was very helpful. He gave me three tea chests full of photographs to use in the collage for the poster inside."

For an iconic album, Hamilton said he was paid very little for his work with The Beatles. "I was surprised how little we got!" he said, remembering that Peter Blake was given £200 for "Sgt. Pepper."

"I couldn't remember what I'd been paid, but Peter said: You only got 200 quid, too. I thought that was a bit mean."