About the artist

Patrick Caulfield

No artist of his generation has contemplated the comedy of life with greater intelligence, wit or courage than Patrick Caulfield,” art historian Mel Gooding wrote of the British artist whose bold, eclectic and ironic work illustrates this report.

Regarded as one of the most original British artists of the late 20th century Caulfield, who died aged 69 in 2005, defied easy definitions. His early work is characterised by the use of bold colours and black outlines to depict everyday objects. In his mature work, trompe l’œil and photo-realism happily co-exist.

Though a contemporary of the ‘new generation’ of young British artists who rose to prominence in the early 1960s, Caulfield’s subject matter was interiors, churches and everyday objects not popular culture. ‘Pop artist’ was a label that made him wince. His interpretation of his work was that “it began as a kind of wholesale reaction against sensitive Slade School English painting which believed it was bad taste to finish anything”. He later said: “I like very structured painting. I simply try to make a logical, seemingly logical, space that could exist.”

Patrick Caulfield, Royal Academician and CBE, was born in Acton, west London in 1936 though grew up in Bolton, Lancashire. After leaving school at 15 he joined the advertising department of Crosse & Blackwell where he washed brushes and painted chocolates for display. While stationed at RAF Norwood for National Service he took evening classes at Harrow School of Art. In 1956 he won a place at Chelsea School of Art. He spent a further three years at the Royal College of Art in the year below RB Kitaj and David Hockney.In 1965, the year of his first solo exhibition, Caulfield was one of four artists representing Britain at the Fourth Paris Biennale where he won the Prix de Jeunes Artistes.

In recent years, WPP’s Annual Reports have drawn visual inspiration from individual markets important to our clients and our companies. Since 2005 we have looked respectively to India, China, Africa, Brazil, the US and last year, Eastern Europe. This year we take our visual cue from the UK, in the year of the London Olympics, featuring the iconic images of distinguished British artist, the late Patrick Caulfield.

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