Biography of Patrick Caulfield
The instantly recognizable and stylized work of British painter, Patrick Caulfield, won him admirers around the world and he was even a personal favorite of musician David Bowie. Born in Acton in 1936, Caulfield took a design job at Crosse & Blackwell before going on to join the Royal Air Force. By 1960 he had completed his course at the Chelsea School of Art and attended the Royal College of Art from 1960-63. It was here that he met contemporary David Hockney.
After his participation in the defining “The New Generation” exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1964, he was loosely aligned with the Pop art movement. However, Caulfield preferred to see himself as more of a formal artist. For him clarity was absolute, and was a keen admirer of Spanish Cubist artist Juan Gris. A highly skilled screenprinter and producer of limited edition prints, Caulfield became attracted to the solid forms of color that acrylic paint afforded him and soon stopped painting oil on board altogether.
His groundbreaking work, After Lunch, 1975, featuring a bored waiter and an exquisitely painted photomural of the Château de Chillon, was one of the first works ever to combine different styles of representation. The work was emblematic of Caulfield’s desire to present alternate and contrasting viewpoints of the world. He died from cancer in 2005. He will be remembered for bringing together elements of photorealism in his unique pared-down setting. He leaves behind an astonishingly strong body of work, centered around the strange interior surroundings that make up the domestic lives of so many people.
In 1987 Caulfield was nominated for the Turner Prize for his show “The Artist’s Eye” at the National Gallery in London. Sadly three of his best works were destroyed in the warehouse fire that afflicted Charles Saatchi’s art collection. He has a wealth of prestigious exhibitions including the Hayward Gallery in 1999 and Tate Liverpool in 2006. In 2013 he had a major survey of his work at Tate Britain. He is featured in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Tate Gallery, both in London and the Dallas museum of Art in Texas.