Don’t call me Pop! Caulfield, a key figure of British art @ Tate

Tate Britain celebrates British artist Patrick Caulfield (1936-2005) in an excellent exhibition of 30+ works from 1960 to 2004. Pop art is often viewed as a response to abstract expressionism, but Patrick Caulfield rejected both. Nonetheless his flat areas delimited by simple black outlines are reminiscent of pop artist Lichtenstein; as is his depiction of modern life and objects.

He claims influence from Juan Gris, Braque and Leger, and this is detectable, though not particularly strong, in the subjects of his still lifes found in room 4.

In room 3, I understood why Caulfield may have found the pop art label too limiting. He adds deep perspective to his paintings vs. flat and linear pop art (eg. Tandoori Restaurant), and includes objects (eg. a rope in Hemingway never ate here), and elements of Photorealism (eg. the scenic picture in After Lunch). Photorealists paint objects and scenes from daily life with a high degree of realism, using photography as the basis for their works.

If you are convinced like me that Caulfield is a key figure in British art, you can see more of him in two exhibitions: in the Alan Cristea and Waddington Custot galleries, both on Cork Street in London’s Mayfair district (until July 13 and June 29 respectively). The Tate Britain exhibition runs until September 1st.


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