Patrick Caulfield, Some Poems from Jules Laforgue Portfolio, 1973

6 Sep-27 Oct 2023

Austin / Desmond Fine Art
London WC1B 3BN


In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Patrick Caulfield’s homage to the poetry of Jules Laforgue, Austin Desmond Fine Art, in association with Julian Page, is pleased to present an exhibition of the complete suite of twenty-two screenprints.

In the late 1960s, Caulfield was approached by the Petersburg Press to create a limited edition book. Caulfield was given the freedom to choose the subject and he decided upon the poetry of the 19th century French writer Jules Laforgue, whose work he had discovered whilst studying at the Chelsea School of Art. An early innovator of free verse, Laforgue’s poetry was linked to his love of art, specifically that of Impressionism. The biographer Michael Collie went as far to imply that Laforgue was attempting to creative the literary equivalent of Impressionism.

In the book ‘Some Poems of Jules Laforgue’ (1973) Caulfield created images he imagined when reading LaForgue’s work to make the poems relevant for the modern reader.

'The images I produced are complementary images, not illustrations. Some of the connections are a bit tenuous, others are obvious. I tried to imagine what Laforgue might have been looking at when he thought of the poems, knowing of course, that certain of the images are totally of another period to Laforgue's lifetime: ‘poetic licence with poetic license’.

Caulfield produced a suite of 22 screenprints, with the title of each print taken from the poems. Vibrant and intense, these images are classic examples of the Pop Art that dominated the contemporary art scene.

Accompanying the exhibition is a selection of prints by Richard Hamilton.

Selected works