Patrick Caulfield was one of the finest painters of his generation, yet – in an age in which critics were quick to classify – he defied easy definition.
His eclectic paintings displayed a technical mastery which allowed him to work in a variety of styles within a single canvas. In his mature work, trompe-l’oeil and photo-realism co-existed happily alongside simple graphic outlines, emboldened planes of flat colour and perspectival complexity. The paintings’ unity was created by the power of Caulfield’s imagination and his wry detachment.
This resistance to classification meant that Caulfield’s work was not as widely known as that of some of his contemporaries, particularly those who saw media manipulation as an extension of their art. Caulfield was a painter’s painter, an artist whose work revealed great depths when contemplated, and to those with an understanding of art, its history and possibilities, his work could resonate on a grand scale.
In the White Ware series, the predominant colour scheme is black and white. The subject of each print is a single white ceramic pot represented against a dark background. Caulfield told Alan Cristea, his print dealer, that the inspiration for this series came from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and specifically from the catalogues they published of their collections of oriental ceramics (email to the author 16 March 2009). The term white ware simply refers to any pottery that has a white glaze. The colour of the ground varies from print to print, from dark blue to grey to brown to black. Three of the prints have accents of other, brighter colours, possibly suggestive of light falling through coloured glass. All of the prints have shafts of strong white light as part of their composition, while some include a light source such as a lampshade or window.
‘Large White Jug’ by Patrick Caulfield on display at Jonathan Grant Gallery. For more infomation on Caulfield’s prints please contact us.