Patrick Caulfield

About Patrick Caulfield

Signed Prints & Originals

 

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’