Biography for Patrick Caulfield (1936 - 2005)

Patrick Caulfield studied at the Chelsea School of Art from 1956 to 1960, and at the Royal College of Art from 1960 to 1963, where his fellow pupils included David Hockney and R. B. Kitaj. Patrick Caulfield returned to Chelsea later as a teacher.

In 1964, Patrick Caulfield exhibited at the New Generation show at London's Whitechapel Gallery, which resulted in him being associated with pop art.

From around the mid-1970s Patrick Caulfield began to incorporate more detailed, realistic elements into his work, After Lunch (1975) being one of the first examples. Still-life: Autumn Fashion (1978) contains a variety of different styles-some objects have heavy black outlines and flat colour, but a bowl of oysters is depicted more realistically, and other areas are executed with looser brushwork. Patrick Caulfield later returned to his earlier, more stripped-down, style of painting.

Patrick Caulfield's paintings are figurative, often portraying a few simple objects in an interior. Typically, Patrick Caulfield used flat areas of simple colour surrounded by black outlines. Some of Patrick Caulfield's works are dominated by a single hue. After Lunch, 1975, Tate Gallery.

In 1987 Patrick Caulfield was nominated for the Turner Prize and in 1996 Patrick Caulfield was made a CBE.

Patrick Caulfield died in London in 2005 and is buried in Highgate Cemetery.

Whereas in his paintings Patrick Caulfield often works on a grand scale, his prints for the most part do not need to be large, because he is evoking a mood through the depiction of a single object or of a strictly focused domestic scene.

Patrick Caulfield's career as a printmaker began in 1964 with; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Ruins'. It was selected to represent Britain at the 4th Paris Biennale and won the unofficial Prix des Jeunes Artistes. Patrick Caulfield had discovered the perfect graphic medium for his work.

In Patrick Caulfield's earliest prints he seems intent upon radical simplification of the key themes of his painting at the time, a paring down to essentials, and an isolation of motif that demands of the viewer contemplation without distraction. In each case the baldness of presentation begs the question: what is the meaning of these jugs? Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Two Jugs'. This window? Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Small Window'. This coal fire? Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Coal Fire'. Our response may begin in the eye's delight at the brilliance of colour, the magical realisation of space, the immediate readability of image; it quickly complicates, as the mind engages with associations and allusions, with ironies, with references to life and to art, and whatever may lie between.

The candle, and the half-peeled lemon the prodigal array of fruit and game, vegetables and flowers, the goblet and the decanter, the mandolin, those things painted in a thousand Dutch genre and still-life paintings with such wonderful precision and truth to appearance are more than what they seem: they are emblems and reminders. In Patrick Caulfield's early still-life's, the prints of 1967-71, certain of these classical motifs are wine jugs in; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Coloured Still Life'. Water jugs in; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Earthenware'. Glasses of wine in; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Wine Glasses'. These are laconically isolated, appropriated to modernist flatness, reduced to descriptive outline and decorative colour (the only plenitude- Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Sweets in a Bowl'-is ironic).

Sometimes subjects with rich associations in other art histories, other genres, are presented with the same deadpan flatness as in; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'The Letter' and Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Earthenware', we are reminded in these two of Vermeer. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'The Hermit' is a nod to Caspar David Friedrich. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Cafe Sign'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'bathroom Mirror'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'interior: Morning'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'interior: Noon'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Interior: Evening'. And Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'interior: Night' are all a nod to Mondrian. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Pipe'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Fig Branch'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Napkin and Onion'. And; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Window at Night' are a set with droll illusion to Bridget Riley. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Two Whiting' are a homage to Braque. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Small Window'. And Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Found Objects' are a nod to Duchamp; the vantis candle reinterpreted as an electric light in; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Lampshade'. The musical instrument as a loudspeaker in; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Loudspeaker'. The cross a necklace with its beads scattered and lost in; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Crucifix'. In every case the presentation is of an absolute simplicity, the comic book black line drawing, and the uniform planes of colour.

Patrick Caulfield is an undisputed master of visual illusion. Patrick Caulfield's catalogue of prints presents an astonishing repertoire of cunning artifice. The objects and spaces so magically summoned into visibility are imbued with reference and implication, become significant of things not visible; those things for which Patrick Caulfield finds such inimitably precise denotations are laden with connotations, celebratory, nostalgic, ironic, disquieting, and comic. The lamps and windows, the deserted restaurant interiors, with their sharp-angled geometrics of light and shadow; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Pipe and Jug'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Tulips'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Spider Plant'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Paris Separates'. The billowing curtains; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Curtain and Bottle'. Empty coat-stands; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Coat Stand'. And vases of flowers are indicated with such signal - often black and white - economy, are evocations of a world in which quiet dramas of happiness and sadness are played out, dates are kept or unkept, conviviality enjoyed or solitude endured.

Images of familiar things in recognisable places attract inevitable associations, provoke reflection on the emotions they arouse, the value they represent. 'Some Poems by Jules Laforgue' comprise of Patrick Caulfield's most sustained meditation on the inconsequentiality of the everyday, the ineluctable modality of the visible, the inescapable turning of time. They add up to an inventory of absences. Isolating into sharp focus the most banal objects; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Ah, this life is so everyday'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Watch me eat, without appetite, a la carte'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'She fled along the avenue'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Her handkerchief swept me along the Rhine'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'I'll take my life monotonous'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'You'll be sick if you spend your time indoors'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Crying to the walls: My God! My God! Will she relent?' Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'All these confessions…' Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Making circles on park lagoons'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Oh! If one of them, some fine evening, would try'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Thus she would come, escaped, half-dead to my door'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'And, with my eyes bolting towards the Unconscious. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'We wanted to bleed the silence'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Along a twilighted sky'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Oh Helen, I roam my room'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'I've only the friendship of hotel rooms'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'She'll have forgotten her scarf'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'And I am alone in my house'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'All the benches are wet, the woods are so rusty'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Ah storm clouds rushed from the Channel coasts'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Curtains drawn back from balconies of shores'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'My life inspires so many desires!'

Other Patrick Caulfield prints from the early 1970's include; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Night Sky'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Vase on Display'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Portrait of a Frenchman'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Occasional table'.

Perhaps in reaction to the extreme economy of the Laforgue images, and also to the austere black and white elegance of 'Black and White Café'. Patrick Caulfield began to complicate the imagery of his prints; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Jug'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Jar'. Whose vaguely Mediterranean setting suggests also a shift of mood.

The mood change is confirmed in 1975 by the 'Provence' series; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Garden with pines'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Signature Pots', where a blue sky is glimpsed through the trees. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Rose Bottle', where a dawn light palely illuminating the napkin and empty bottle of last night's supper (the label is the first of only two such photo-collage effects in his prints). Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Terracotta Vase', where the sky is the same hue as everything else in the image. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Lamp and Pines' and Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Evening Menu' where several hot reds describe the sunset intensity.

The complication of the imagery in the prints continues from 1976 through 1978. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'For John Constable'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'White Pot'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Pipe in Bowl'. In Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Still Life Ingredients', the image brings together pot, jug and other kitchen implements with onions, tomatoes and vegetables; ingredients both formal and thematic are brought together, for art and for life. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Glazed Earthenware'. In Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Bananas with Leaves', the apple green leaves that throw blue shadows over the bananas are the border colour bled into the image, transformed into 3-D relief and creating depth of field by an edging of darker green: flat colour becomes by sleight of hand; the eye deceived into contradictory readings, colour as fact, colour as fiction.

Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Picnic Set' (1978) culminates in the most complicated of Patrick Caulfield's images. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Picnic Set' presents us with a radiant holiday image: the light streams down from the top right through the laden vineyard on to the table prepared for an alfresco picnic lunch. The photo collage labels are windows on to the scene at large, the white spots on the red plates are counter-pointed by the red spots on the glasses, and the mottled shades defined by the sunlight beam are fragments of the greater vineyard shade. That shaft of sunlight is the phenomenon of a moment.

Other exuberant screen prints produced in 1978 are; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Sausages'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Three Sausages'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Big Sausages'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Cigar'.

By 1979 Patrick Caulfield had returned to imagery progressively more simple, schematic and direct. These are beauties of graphic economy, drawn with consummate skill, in which the vessels are set against a window in; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Ridged Jar'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Cream Glazed Pot'. A stone step in; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Fern Pot'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Plant Pot'. The exception; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Fruit and Bowl', with its bowl and drapery and fruit in radiant colours suggests Cezanne done in Matisse. The process continues through to; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Grey Pipe'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Dressed Lobster'.

The suite of 'Jugs' 1981-1982. Continues the process, in which the now-familiar technique of merging the colour of the spatial background with the colour of the object form is brought to new heights of stylish sophistication in; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Pink Jug'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Water Jug'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Brown Jug'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Pitcher'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Large Jug'.

In two major series, the Wall Plates of 1987; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Wall Plate: Highlights'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Wall Plate: Stucco'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Wall Plate: Stones'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Wall Plate: Screen'. And 'White Ware' Prints of 1990; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Large White Jug'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Arita Flask'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Lung Ch'uan Ware and Window'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Lamp and Lung Ch'uan Ware'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Lung Ch'uan Ware and Black Lamp'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Lamp and Kuan Ware'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Sue Ware Jar'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Arita Flask-black'. The light that streams from top left in; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Picnic Set', and which is in that image a crucial element in an elaborate scenario, is reduced to the most beautifully precise sign in images of startling abstract refinement. Patrick Caulfield's abiding preoccupation with light is a component of his deepest philosophical and thematic concerns.

Also from 1987; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Vessel'. From 1992; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Red Jug and Lamp'. From 1994; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Duck'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Coach Lamp'. Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Wall Lamp'. And Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Brown Pot'. From 1997; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Freud's Smoke'. From 1999; Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Two Fish on a Plate'. And Patrick Caulfield, print, signed 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon vues de Derriere'.

No Artist of his generation has contemplated the comedy of life with greater intelligence, wit or courage than Patrick Caulfield.

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