Patrick Caulfield - Evening & Day Editions London Wednesday, June 7, 2023 | Phillips

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  • “The images suggest the things I have imagined the poet seeing when he wrote the poem: a banal starting point for a quasi-romantic excursion. Where I have used images not contemporary to Laforgue, it is to suggest the freshness of his poetry today.”
    —Patrick Caulfield

    Born in 1860, the Symbolist poet Jules Laforgue was a pioneer of free verse poetry in nineteenth-century France. Frequently credited as a major influence on the writings of Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot, the present lot highlights the enduring reach of Laforgue’s words. In this portfolio of twenty-two screenprints, Patrick Caulfield takes Laforgue’s poetry as a departure point for each composition. Rendered through the artist’s characteristic use of graphic line and bold colours, Caulfield reimagines the sights that might have inspired Laforgue’s writing for a modern audience. To further emphasise his admiration for Laforgue’s work, Caulfield directly lifts lines from Laforgue’s poetry to form the titles of the individual prints within this portfolio. For example, Watch me eat, without appetite, à la carte is taken from Laforgue’s Complaint About a Certain Sunday, and Caulfield’s print envisages the poet to be seated at a restaurant when he composed these lines. Similarly, the screenprint All the benches are wet, the woods are so rusty takes its title from the poet’s The Coming Winter, with Caulfield depicting leafless orange branches in a bid to recreate the sort of environment he assumes would have inspired Laforgue. Indebted to Laforgue’s written words, Caulfield’s screenprints form a visual poem dedicated to the literary pioneer, as suggested by the portfolio’s title.

    • Literature

      Alan Cristea 38

    • Catalogue Essay

      Including Ah! this Life is so everyday; Watch me eat, without appetite, à la carte; She fled along the avenue; Her handkerchief swept me along the Rhine; I'll take my life monotonous; You'll be sick if you spend all your time indoors; Crying to the walls: My God! My God! will she relent?; All these confessions...; Making circles on park lagoons; Oh! if one of Them, some fine evening, would try; Thus she would come, escaped, half-dead to my door; And, with my eyes bolting toward the Unconscious; We wanted to bleed the Silence; Along a twilighted sky; Oh Helen, I roam my room; I've only the friendship of hotel rooms; She'll have forgotten her scarf; And I am alone in my house; All the benches are wet, the woods are so rusty; Ah! storm clouds rushed from the Channel coasts; Curtains drawn back from balconies of shores; and My life inspires so many desires!


Some Poems of Jules Laforgue (C. 38)

The complete set of 22 screenprints in colours, on Neobond synthetic paper, with full margins, the sheets loose (as issued), all contained in the original pale blue leather portfolio.
I. 40.9 x 35.8 cm (16 1/8 x 14 1/8 in.)
S. 60.9 x 55.6 cm (23 7/8 x 21 7/8 in.)
portfolio 62.8 x 57.3 x 3.5 cm (24 3/4 x 22 1/2 x 1 3/8 in.)

All signed and numbered 7/100 in pencil, from Edition C (there were also 20 artist's proof sets), published by Petersburg Press, London, lacking the accompanying book, all unframed.

Full Cataloguing

£12,000 - 18,000 

Sold for £24,130

Contact Specialist
+44 20 7318 4091

Rebecca Tooby-Desmond
Specialist, Head of Sale, Editions

Robert Kennan
Head of Editions, Europe

Anne Schneider-Wilson
Senior International Specialist, Editions

Louisa Earl
Associate Specialist, Editions

Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 7 - 8 June 2023