Patrick Caulfield, R.A. (1936-2005)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Patrick Caulfield, R.A. (1936-2005)

Portrait of a Frenchman

Details
Patrick Caulfield, R.A. (1936-2005)
Portrait of a Frenchman
signed, inscribed and dated 'Portrait of a Frenchman Patrick Caulfield 1971' (on the old backboard attached to the frame)
oil on board
25 x 21 in. (63.5 x 53.3 cm.)
Provenance
with Waddington Galleries, London, where purchased by R.A. McAlpine.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 3 December 1974, lot 164.
Private collection.
with Timothy Taylor Gallery, London, where purchased by the present owner in 2001.
Exhibited
Melbourne, Sweeney Reed Galleries, Patrick Caulfield: Paintings and Prints, October 1972, catalogue not traced.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

Brought to you by

André Zlattinger
André Zlattinger

Lot Essay

The subject matter of the present lot is very unusual for Caulfield. Although human habitation is often suggested in his work, he rarely included a human figure. Caulfield commented 'If you're depicting something made by human beings, that seems to me to be enough. It does describe people. I wasn't consciously thinking that if I included a person in it the viewer would feel that he was intruding. It was probably because of the difficulty of formalizing a person and using a figure without it being a narrative. I managed it in After Lunch [1975, (Tate, London)] because the person, being a waiter, was a sort of cypher for nobody' (see exhibition catalogue, Patrick Caulfield: Paintings 1963-81, Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, 1981, pp. 25-26).

The only other instance of Caulfield incorporating the word 'portrait' into the title of one of his paintings is in his seminal work Portrait of Juan Gris, 1963 (Pallant House, Chichester) where he pays tribute to one of the great influences on his early work at the Royal College. In Portrait of a Frenchman he gives us no such luxury as to the significance of the sitter. Maybe he is the French poet Jules Labourge whose work Caulfield read extensively at the Royal College. Maybe he is Toulouse-Lautrec whose 1952 film biopic Moulin Rouge, directed by John Huston, was said to have inspired Caulfield to take those first steps to becoming an artist by attending evening classes at Harrow School of Art. Alternatively, he is perhaps a distillation of all those hackneyed images of Frenchmen, once full of culture and meaning but now empty and banal; a sign waiting for significance.

More from Modern British Art Day Sale

View All
View All