15 July - 5 September 2009

Patrick Caulfield

Prints 1964 – 1999

The Alan Cristea Gallery will be holding a retrospective exhibition of Patrick Caulfield's prints. Caulfield died in 2005 leaving an indelible contribution to British painting and printmaking.

Caulfield was a student at the Royal College of Art between 1960-63 alongside David Hockney and Allen Jones. However his subject matter drew more from the masters of modern art such as Braque and Gris than from the consumer culture that preoccupied his fellow students. The works in the exhibition have been selected to represent every aspect of his printmaking career and will date from his very first print, Ruins, made in 1964 right through to his final edition entitled Les Demoiselles d'Avignon Vues de Derrière.

Caulfield made Ruins as part of the ground-breaking ICA portfolio in which 24 artists worked with Chris Prater at Kelpra Studios. It was here at Kelpra that Caulfield was to make all of his prints up to 1987 and where he developed a style and approach to printmaking that dominated his graphic work thereafter. By distilling elements of still life into their simplest form, and by using pure line and colour, he created an immaculate and instantly recognisable pictorial style.

On the whole his prints are devoid of human content. Instead traces of life, such as a discarded napkin or an empty wine bottle, imply a presence and evoke mood and emotion. Caulfield's illustrations to Jules Laforgue's poems exemplify this approach to printmaking. The images, which appear deceptively simple, perfectly mirror the poet's text. In each case a haunting image captures Laforgue's ironic, and at times melancholy, insights into the poignant banality of everyday life. His work has had a profound influence on generations of artists, including many of today's leading painters.

The gallery has published the complete catalogue raisonné of his prints, illustrating and documenting every print he has ever made.


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