Patrick Joseph Caulfield was an English painter & printmaker known for his bold canvases, which often incorporated elements of photorealism within a pared-down scene. Caulfield was born on 29 January 1936 in Acton, West London. He studied at Chelsea School of Art from 1956 to 1960, and during this time won two major prizes which funded a trip to Greece and Crete upon graduation.
The visit to the Crete proved important, with Caulfield finding inspiration in the Minoan frescoes and the bright, hard colours of the island. One of the artist’s greatest friends during this time was the abstract painter John Hoyland, whom he first met at the Young Contemporaries exhibition in 1959.
Caulfield continued his studies at the Royal College of Art from 1960 to 1963, his contemporaries included David Hockney and Allen Jones. Upon graduating Caulfield obtained a teaching position at Chelsea School of Art from 1963–71. In 1964, he exhibited at the New Generation show at London’s Whitechapel Gallery, which resulted in him being associated with the Pop art movement. This was a label Caulfield was opposed to throughout his career, seeing himself rather as “a ‘formal’ artist”.
Caulfield’s paintings are figurative, often portraying a few simple objects in an interior. Typically, he used flat areas of simple colour surrounded by black outlines.From the mid-1970s Caulfield incorporated more detailed, realistic elements into his work. He later introduced elements of trompe l’oeil and photorealism into his paintings. Caulfield also worked in other mediums, including graphic prints, tapestry, theatrical set design and screen-print book illustrations.
In 1987, Caulfield was nominated for the Turner Prize for his show The Artist’s Eye at the National Gallery in London. In 1996 he was made a CBE. In September 2010 Caulfield and five other British artists, Howard Hodgkin, John Walker, Ian Stephenson, John Hoyland, and R.B. Kitaj were included in an exhibition entitled The Independent Eye: Contemporary British Art From the Collection of Samuel and Gabrielle Lurie, at the Yale Center of British Art.
Patrick Caulfield died in London in 2005 and is buried in Highgate Cemetery. His estate is represented by Alan Cristea Gallery and Waddington Custot Galleries in London. His work is held in the private collections of Charles Saatchi and David Bowie.