Tuesday 23 February 2021

Lot 40

Patrick Caulfield CBE RA, British 1936-2005- Wall Plate: Small Ridges, 1986;

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Lot 40

Patrick Caulfield CBE RA,
British 1936-2005-
Wall Plate: Small Ridges, 1986;

Price Realised: Unsold Lot

Estimate: £25,000 - £30,000

Price realised is hammer price plus fees (30% Buyers Premium inclusive of VAT).

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Lot 40


Patrick Caulfield CBE RA,
British 1936-2005-

Wall Plate: Small Ridges, 1986;

acrylic on board, signed, 81 x55cm, (ARR)

Provenance: Waddington Custot, London, where purchased by the present owner.

Note: This work is by the seminal British painter and printmaker Patrick Caulfield. Caulfield was a student at Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art, studying alongside Allen Jones and David Hockney.


This piece is one of a number of studies in acrylic on board made by Caulfield for his Wall Plates screenprints, made by the artist for Waddington Graphics in 1987 (M. Livingstone, Patrick Caulfield: Paintings, Waddington Galleries, 2005, p.266). Small Ridges is one of approximately a dozen of these studies made in two sizes (of which this piece is a smaller example), in which Caulfield played with the representation of light and shadow on a textured base. Therefore, whilst this painting was not one of the four designs eventually selected for his screenprint series, it is certainly very closely connected with this set of works, and is therefore a wonderful and unique example of the process and experimentation which led to their production.


This painting is a key example of Caulfields instantly recognisable approach, which lies in the stripping back of scenes to their most basic, minimalist forms. Indeed, Caulfields Wall Plate pushes this idea to its extremity, resulting in an image which, at first glance, appears to have eschewed conventional representation for a purely abstract meditation on colour and shape. A study of this piece, however, does reveal it to be a depiction of the hanging plate referred to by its title. This was a subject to which Caulfield repeatedly returned in his paintings, with the plates suggestion of still life also hinting towards the influence of the Cubists for whom the still life was a subject matter of choice which loomed large over the artists work. Like artists such as Fernand Leger, Caulfields preoccupation with breaking objects down to their essential forms expresses an exploration of the very nature of our perception, and attempts at representation, of reality.


This piece, being acrylic on board, is a typical example of the artists use of materials and technique. Caulfields use of acrylic allowed him to create bold and contrasting patches of colour, and imbues this painting with a flatness which is characteristic of his wider work. It is largely this approach which has led commentators to align Caulfield with the pop art movement, an association which Caulfield himself disputed. Nevertheless, this work does reveal Caulfields affinity with contemporaries such as David Hockney, with his investigation of the representation of something as intangible and ephemeral as light recalling Hockneys attempts to depict water. His work has, in turn, had a significant influence on another generation of artists, as in the work of Julian Opie and Gary Hume.


Caulfields work has been exhibited in a number of prestigious institutions throughout his lifetime and Caulfield himself has been the recipient of a number of awards. In 1964, towards the beginning of his career, Caulfields work was exhibited at the Whitechapel Gallery in London as part of a showcase of the New Generation, whilst Caulfield alone was the subject of a major retrospective held at the Hayward Gallery in 1999. The year after Caulfield produced this painting he was nominated for the Turner Prize, and was awarded the Jerwood Prize in 1995. Caulfields work is held in collections which include the Tate Galleries and the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and the Whitworth in Manchester.


Buyer's Premium

The buyer shall pay the hammer price together with a premium thereon of 26% up to £20,000 (31.2% inclusive of VAT), 25% from £20,001 - £500,000 (30% inclusive of VAT), 20% from £500,001 thereafter (24% inclusive of VAT). The premium price is subject to VAT at the standard rate.

VAT is not charged on the hammer price unless it is stated that there is 'VAT applicable on the hammer price at the end of the description. Buyer's premium is subject to VAT.

Qualifying living artists and the descendants of artists deceased within the last 70 years are entitled to receive a re-sale royalty each time their work is bought through an auction house or art market professional.

It applies to lots with hammer value over €1,000 as follows:
0 to €50,000 - 4%, €50,000.01 to €200,000 - 3%
€200,000.01 to €350,000 - 1%,
€350,000.01 to €500,000 - 0.5%
Exceeding €500,000 - 0.25%
ARR is capped at €12,500

Please note ARR is calculated in euros. Auctioneers will apply current exchange rates.

Export of goods

Buyers intending to export goods should ascertain whether an export licence is required before bidding. Export licences are issued by Arts Council England and application forms can be obtained from its Export Licensing Unit. Details can be found on the ACE website www.artscouncil.org.uk or by phoning ACE on 020 7973 5188. The need for import licences varies from country to country and you should acquaint yourself with all relevant local requirements and provisions before bidding. The refusal of any such licences shall not permit the cancelling of any sale nor allow any delay in making full payment for the lot.

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