Patirck Caulfield's art market trajectory has been influenced by his distinct stylistic periods, with his market primarily centred in London. Throughout his career, Caulfield skillfully fused different artistic styles, demonstrating versatility and innovation. His works garnered attention from celebrities, further enhancing their desirability. Over time, Caulfield experienced multiple market peaks at different periods, reflecting the evolving appreciation for his art. Notably, many of his paintings were transformed into prints, which remain popular in the secondary market and continue to be featured in auctions today, showcasing the enduring appeal of Caulfield's artistic legacy.
With a prestigious ownership history that includes the esteemed English icon David Bowie, it comes as no surprise that this particular artwork by Patrick Caulfield stands as his most successful piece in terms of sales. David Bowie, known for his chameleon-like nature and impressive versatility as a musician, actor, and artist, naturally gravitated towards the works of Caulfield, who notoriously and consistently distanced himself from specific artistic movements. Caulfield’s artistic approach embodies elements of minimalism, abstraction, and pop art throughout his extensive body of work.
Foyer (1973) portrays an empty interior that evokes a profound sense of solitude and loneliness through the absence of human presence. The vacant space is composed of cubist, abstract blocks of vibrant colour, brought to life by delicate black lines that delineate the contours and dimensions of the room. Although Foyer exhibits hints of pop art, it retains a remarkable level of sophistication, purity, and tranquility.
Foyer achieved the highest selling price among Patrick Caulfield's works, commanding a final price of £665,000 (fees included) during the iconic David Bowie collection auction held at Sotheby's in November 2016. The association with David Bowie undoubtedly adds an extra layer of allure and prestige to the artwork, contributing to its exceptional market performance.
Sweet Bowl (1966) was conceived during the mid-1960s, a period characterised by the vibrant Pop Art movement. However, Patrick Caulfield, rather than delving into themes of commodification and consumer culture, directed his focus towards formalism. This approach is evident in the above artwork's restrained yet deliberate use of varying shades of blue, showcasing Caulfield's keen understanding of colour balance and harmony. The smooth black lines, reminiscent of Keith Haring's signature style, define a cropped table featuring a simple yet elegant bowl filled with individually coloured candies. This seemingly mundane scene is elevated to refined elegance and contemplation.
Despite its empty composition, Sweet Bowl captivates viewers and is one of Caulfield's most highly sought-after works. Its popularity led to the creation of an edition of 75 prints, which have circulated the secondary market on numerous occasions since its initial appearance in 2006.
Notably, the original painting, Sweet Bowl, achieved a remarkable price of £524,750 (fees included) at Sotheby's in October 2017, solidifying its status as one of Patrick Caulfield's most successful and coveted creations.
Sun Lounge (1975) represents an ambitious artistic endeavour that not only showcases Patrick Caulfield's brilliant mastery of colour abstraction but also underscores his deep understanding of architecture and the construction of shapes through a meticulous grid-like system. In Caulfield's earlier works from the 1960s, he ventured into minimalism, employing a single colour palette and black-gridded lines to fashion captivating interior scenes. An exemplary instance of this can be found in Bathroom Mirrors (1968), a work that explores the utilisation of grid lines through a minimalist concept.
What sets Sun Lounge apart from many of Caulfield's other works is the utilisation of grid lines in greater detail, resulting in a highly intricate and complex depiction of interior space with the inclusion of everyday objects such as chairs, lights, tables, footrests, mirrors, and various findings. This addition of familiar, natural elements adds a poignant layer of meaning to the composition, offering a subtle reference to human interaction within the room. Although devoid of human presence, the presence of clutter within the interior serves as a symbolic nod to the traces of human activity.
Remarkably, this artwork has entered the secondary market twice, achieving significant prices at Christie's. The first sale took place in June 2006, with the artwork fetching £512,000 (fees included). The second sale occurred in November 2011, when it achieved a substantial price of £505,250 (fees included). These figures firmly position Sun Lounge among Patrick Caulfield's most highly valued and sought-after works.
Inspired by ancient European ruins, Patrick Caulfield's panoramic View Of The Ruins (1964) presents a fascinating juxtaposition as he skillfully transforms these remnants of the past into contemporary imagery. In doing so, he imparts a timeless quality to these subjects, creating an anachronistic interpretation. Unlike his Pop Art contemporaries, who often depicted the commodification of American culture, Caulfield's focus on ruins allows him to portray the echoes of history in a simplified yet impactful manner. Set against a vibrant red backdrop, the objects depicted in this artwork transcend their original context, entering a new era of significance.
During this particular phase of Caulfield's career, he experimented with boldly coloured backgrounds, using them as a stage for placing recognisable yet simplified forms. While Pop Art often delves into the material and commodified aspects of contemporary culture, Caulfield also addresses the natural industrial materials that shape our daily lives. His exploration of these themes is further reflected in a later screenprint titled Ruins (1964), featuring a collection of stone bricks against a vibrant yellow backdrop in an edition of 40.
View Of The Ruins (1964) achieved a remarkable price of £491,250 (fees included) at Christie's in October 2019, solidifying its status as one of Patrick Caulfield's most sought-after works.
In a manner reminiscent of his acclaimed work Sun Lounge (1975), Patrick Caulfield once again demonstrates his precision and astute observational skills in Forecourt (1975). This architectural-inspired masterpiece showcases Caulfield's meticulous attention to detail, as exemplified by the grand and intricately adorned interior portrayed on the expansive canvas. While the predominant blush hue lends an air of elegance to the space, it is Caulfield's mastery of his signature black lines that imparts a sense of opulence and grandeur to the composition.
Caulfield's exceptional command of colour is also evident in Forecourt. The strategic placement of contrasting shades of blue in a separate room entered through the facade, along with vibrant pops of green resembling flower beds at the forefront, creates a captivating illusion of three-dimensional depth. This technique entices the viewer to visually traverse from the foreground into the separate realm, effectively becoming an integral part of the artwork and compensating for the absence of human presence within the scene.
Undeniably ambitious and complex, Forecourt achieved significant acclaim when it sold for £446,500 (fees included) at Sotheby's in December 2013. Its impressive combination of meticulous craftsmanship, captivating use of colour, and the immersive experience it offers to the viewer solidify its status as a testament to Patrick Caulfield's artistic prowess.
Among Patrick Caulfield's highly sought-after works traded on the secondary market, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon vues de derrière (2000) holds a prominent position. Created in the later stage of Caulfield's career, this piece pays homage to Pablo Picasso's renowned painting depicting Spanish prostitutes. Displaying Caulfield's wit, deep knowledge of art history, and artistic periods, he presents the women from a rear perspective, in contrast to Picasso's frontal view, humorously incorporating “Derrière’’ in the title, which translates to “rear end‘‘ in French. Not relying on commercial objects, Caulfield ingeniously transforms Picasso's painting into a commoditised object itself.
What makes this work particularly distinctive is Caulfield's departure from his signature overlay of black lines. Instead, he showcases his brilliant use of colour and abstraction to shape the women's bodies, meticulously placing colours, including sections of white, that create a cutout-like effect. With an edition of 65, this work enjoys great popularity in the market. In June 2007, the painting achieved a significant sale price of £412,000 (fees included) at Sotheby's.
Santa Margherita Ligure (1964) holds extraordinary significance as part of Patrick Caulfield's early explorations. Its importance is underscored by its inclusion in The New Generation: 1964 exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery, a notable showcase highlighting the emerging careers of promising British artists. This work was exhibited alongside Caulfield's contemporaries, who have since become influential figures within the art market, including David Hockney, Bridget Riley, and Paul Huxley, among others.
Rendered in a landscape format and inspired by a postcard, Santa Margherita Ligure showcases Caulfield's masterful command of colour and his meticulous attention to detail, evident in the delicate rendering of each flower petal and the ornate intricacies of the gate railing. Transforming a mass-reproduced photographic image into a highly stylised composition, Caulfield purposefully plays with the inherent “artifice’’ of the work, aligning it with the banality often associated with Pop Art. Additional artistic elements can be found in the framing border, where Caulfield deliberately cuts off the upper left corner of the painting and adds a drop shadow around the picturesque view, creating a visually intriguing sense of depth.
Santa Margherita Ligure stands as one of Caulfield's most successful and sought-after works. Initially sold at Sotheby's in December 1984, it resurfaced in the market in July 2007, commanding a significant price of £400,800 (fees included). This reaffirms the enduring appeal and market value of Patrick Caulfield's artistic contributions.
In a panoramic landscape format, Corner Of The Studio (1964) is a testament to Patrick Caulfield's artistic explorations during the 1960s, yet it possesses a heightened level of intrigue. In this particular artwork, Caulfield directs his focus towards a solitary object: a red freestanding furnace set against a vibrant blue backdrop and abstracted black and red triangles. This deliberate composition accentuates the mundanity of everyday objects, prompting viewers to reconsider their perception of the familiar and inviting a fresh evaluation of their significance.
Corner Of The Studio achieved a significant sale price of £375,000 (fees included) at Christie's London in October 2021. This notable market success reaffirms the enduring appeal and value placed upon Patrick Caulfield's artistic contributions, highlighting the continued resonance of his exploration of the ordinary within the realm of fine art.
Adhering to a landscape format akin to the preceding artwork, Boats at Brindisi (1966), created within the same period, also presents a picturesque postcard-like view. Through a slightly skewed bird's-eye perspective, Caulfield captures a cropped image of the coastal shoreline and two boats, effortlessly transporting viewers to an idyllic moment in time and place—a leisurely and sun-drenched afternoon by the Mediterranean Sea in Brindisi, as indicated by the title. Caulfield's ability to present images in an evidently and deliberately fictionalised manner resonates with audiences, much like the compelling allure of the commercial and banal aspects of pop art. Despite his disavowal of direct association with any particular movement, Caulfield's undeniable contribution to shaping and influencing various artistic periods remains evident.
Boats at Brindisi experienced two notable transactions in the secondary market, both at Christie's. The first sale took place in November 2005, achieving a remarkable price of £366,400 (fees included). The work resurfaced again in November 2013, commanding an even higher price of £386,500 (fees included). These substantial figures attest to the enduring market value and appreciation for Caulfield's artistry.
In a manner akin to the previously discussed works, Sun Lounge (1975) and Forecourt (1975), Springtime: Face à la mer (1974) emerges from Patrick Caulfield's exploratory phase, revealing his propensity for presenting lavishly adorned architectural spaces wherein a dominant single colour reigns, accompanied by carefully selected additional hues that contribute to the creation of spatial depth. This particular artwork unveils the side view of an architectural structure, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the suggested seascape described in the title as if one were to venture into the building's interior. An intriguing facet distinguishing Caulfield from other Pop artists is his departure from the heavy reliance on American consumerism typically associated with the movement. Instead, Caulfield directs his focus towards European landscapes and interiors, which exude an undeniable charm reminiscent of enchanting storybook illustrations.
Springtime: Face à la mer achieved a notable sale price of £344,000 (fees included) at Christie's in November 2006, securing its position among Patrick Caulfield's most esteemed and highly sought-after works.