Patrick Procktor

My tutor suggested that I take a look at the work of Patrick Procktor after he compared some of my previous coursework to his.   I have to say that I wasn’t familiar with his work, I knew of his association with David Hockney and others of that ‘set’ in the 60’s and 70’s but I hadn’t looked at his work in any depth.   I also did not know that he had gone to South Africa in the Seventies and done some work there – particularly 1974, which was a trying time in South Africa (I know ‘cos I was living there then). 

After whizzing through a few websites to look at images of his work, I am in the process of getting hold of a copy of the biography, ‘Patrick Procktor: Art and Life’ by Ian Massey, which is available from Uncle Amazon (a good used copy) for around 15 quid  (Massey’s writing was recommended reading)

Procktor was born in Dublin – highly intellectual, sensitive, great draughtsman and really tall – he was about 6’6”, due to his British Royal Navy training he could speak fluent Russian.  He was pals with David Hockney et al.   He used the Aquatint process to produce some of the work that I’ve seen on the web (and include images of herein).  I did a bit of research into this technique and can appreciate his versatility after watching just a couple of YouTube videos (below credited).   I found his paintings of Jimi Hendrix somewhat strange … he used washes of paint to create the hair.  Even though the face is distorted and pale, I suppose this is what makes it so expressive and memorable, it’s not just a reproduction of a photo (which is what he used as reference), it has a personality.  

Patrick Procktor ‘ Jimi Hendrix II’

  I was particularly interested in his compositional style for paintings like ‘Pure Romance’ which he did around 1969 (Image from Redfern Gallery) and ‘Portrait of Jill Bennett’ 1971  (image from Bridgeman)

Patrick Procktor ‘Pure Romance’ 1969 (Image Redfern Gallery)
Patrick Procktor ‘Portrait of Jill Bennett’ 1972 (Image: Bridgeman Education)

Anyway, I think I will have a better grasp of his output once I’ve got the Massey book. I watched a YouTube video where Massey discussed work for an exhibition (credited below).  Here are a few images of works that I found interesting:

Patrick Procktor ‘Guidecca’ 1978 Aquatint and Etching (Image: Bridgeman Education)
London Bridge 1973 Patrick Procktor 1936-2003 Presented by Editions Alecto through the Institute of Contemporary Prints 1975 (Intaglio print on paper)
Patrick Procktor ‘Poppies’ (Image: Bridgeman education)
Lunch Hour, Johannesburg 1974 Patrick Procktor 1936-2003 Presented by Editions Alecto through the Institute of Contemporary Prints 1975 (Intaglio print on paper)

Procktor visited southern Africa in 1974 travelling to Johannesburg, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and the Victoria Falls. In both these prints he captures the colour and light of the African landscape.


National Gallery, Johannesburg 1974 Patrick Procktor 1936-2003 Presented by Editions Alecto through the Institute of Contemporary Prints 1975 (Intaglio Print on Paper)

Bibliography  (many images of his works, as well as bio and information)   (several works and exhibition information – images cannot be saved – e.g. Nicholas, 6th day )

(source of some images and bio)  London Bridge  1973

The South African suite of intaglio prints on paper (I took a couple of images)  National Gallery, Johannesburg  Lunch hour, Johannesburg

Video – YouTube

Biographer and curator Ian Massey talks about the first museum show of Patrick Procktor’s work since the artist’s death in 2003, and considers the career of this somewhat neglected artist. Procktor was part of a bohemian circle in 1960s and 1970s London that included his great friends David Hockney and Ossie Clarke. This video was made during the installation of the exhibition at Huddersfield Art Gallery and shows a range of paintings and works on paper from all stages of Procktor’s career.

Visual artist and writer Audrey NIffenegger explains the complex process of creating Aquatints for her latest graphic novel, Raven Girl. Commissioned by The Royal Ballet’s Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor as the story for his latest new work.

In the above aquatint video, Niels Borsch Jensen printer through 45 years, takes you even further into the world of copper printing. Aquatint adds a wide rage of possibilities to an otherwise simple printing technique. Our print shop which is founded in 1979, is located in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Another Aquatint video using a non-toxic process – sugar solution.

Non-toxic process to aquatint a metal printing plate, using sugar solution and ink ground, for electrolytic galv-etching.

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