SIGNATURE POTS: Patrick Caufield

Patrick Caufield (1936-2005) was an English painter and printmaker. His work recalls 19th- and early 20th-century graphic design, especially Jugendstil and Arts and Crafts posters and book illustration. His silk-screened interiors and still-life objects are settings and props for a drama with no characters—there is occasional dialogue but no entrances of exits. He can perform the brash, contemporary, pop aesthetic very well, but his subject matter generally tends to be bourgeois and retrospective— antique-ish vases and ruins, continental wine bottles and menus, bleak drawing rooms—over-layered with literary melancholy and ennui. This sounds like a recipe for disaster, but Caufield’s unblinking, deadpan, dry style serves as a detached, critical position from which one can view the subject matter without sentimentality or pathos.

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