elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Gervase Griffiths & Patrick Procktor

Patrick Procktor RA (12 March 1936 – 29 August 2003) was a prominent English artist of the late 20th century. He was too tall- well over 6ft- to be an exquisite, but flamboyant he certainly was. He dressed exotically and flaunted his homosexual preferences; this was to the detriment of his sales from at least one exhibition, in 1968 in New York, which he devoted to paintings of his lover at the time, Gervase Griffiths. It was a one-man show which Procktor insisted on calling a one-boy show. Its failure, though, was probably more a comment on an uncharacteristic lack of variety than an expression of homophobia.

Griffiths, former Gordonstoun head boy, was a model and the lead singer with a psychedelic folk band of little note called Noah and the Quince. A swaggering, Jaggerish young man, he had Procktor smitten. For two years Procktor painted only Gervase, and when he was offered a one-man exhibition at the Nordness Gallery in New York in 1968, the whole show was devoted to this new muse. It was not a critical success, and when Procktor returned to London, Gervase travelled to Haiti with Patrik Steede, a friend of Derek Jarman with an interest in voodoo. 

Patrick Procktor was born in Dublin, the younger son of an oil company accountant, but moved to London when his father died in 1940. From the age of 10, he attended Highgate School – where his teachers included landscape painter Kyffin Williams – intending to read classics at university. However, his mother's income was insufficient to fund his further education and after a period working with a north London builders' merchants 18-year-old Procktor was conscripted into the Royal Navy where, during his National Service, he learned to speak Russian.

Patrick Procktor & Gervase Griffiths by Cecil Beaton
Patrick Procktor was a prominent English artist of the late 20th century. He was too tall- well over 6ft- to be an exquisite, but flamboyant he certainly was. He dressed exotically and flaunted his homosexual preferences; this was to the detriment of his sales from at least one exhibition, in 1968 in New York, which he devoted to paintings of his lover at the time, Gervase Griffiths. It was a one-man show which Procktor insisted on calling a one-boy show. Procktor died in 2003, aged 67.

Patrick Procktor, Charles Newington on Zattere, Galerie Biedermann

There was a time when Patrick Procktor was as famous as David Hockney. 'You couldn't really mention one without the other. It was like Castor and Pollux. They were the dandy twins of the art world,' explains John McEwen in his book, Patrick Procktor: Art and Life, by Ian Massey. The artists met when they were still at art school: 'We started talking, and we just became friends quickly,' says Hockney. We simply had a lot of interests in common – painting, literature, and being gay, then.'

Patrick Procktor artist London 1969. Patrick with Gervase Griffiths who is reading a first copy of the Black Dwarf. Manchester Street flat. ( Picture used in Patrick Procktor Self-Portrait.

Patrick Procktor artist London 1969. April 22nd 1969 PP at opening night of his show at the Redfern Gallery, Cork Street London. L-R Ossie Clark, Patrick, ?, man kissing hand?, Gervase Griffiths, and Peter Hinwood.

David Hockney; Patrick Procktor, bromide print, circa 1970, 5 1/8 in. x 3 1/8 in. (130 mm x 80 mm), Given by Unknown source, 1985, Photographs Collection, NPG x24968

Patrick Procktor, by Lord Snowdon, vintage bromide print, 1979, 15 3/8 in. x 10 5/8 in. (392 mm x 271 mm), Purchased, 2000, Primary Collection, NPG P834

Patrick Procktor, L.H. & M.U. (Liza Heygate & Michael Upton), 1964, Tadema Gallery

Patrick Procktor, London, Galerie Biedermann

Patrick Procktor, Seated Figures, 1967, Galerie Biedermann

Patrick Procktor, Sick Child, 1984, Galerie Biedermann

Patrick Procktor, Denise Moslier, 1986, Galerie Biedermann

Patrick Procktor, Areal View Marylenbone Gardens, 1986, Galerie Biedermann

Patrick Procktor, Mr. Carter with Stubbs Repeater, Galerie Biedermann

Patrick Procktor, Dominic Prima, 1981, Galerie Biedermann

Patrick Procktor, John in Wales, 1979, Galerie Biedermann

Patrick Procktor, Portugal, 1975, Galerie Biedermann

Subsequently, while working as a Russian interpreter with the British Council, Procktor began to paint and draw in his spare time, and was accepted by the Slade School of Fine Art in 1958. There he was influenced by artists including William Coldstream and Keith Vaughan, developing a dark, figurative painting style.

In 1962 he became a professional artist and had his first show at the Redfern Gallery in London's Cork Street in 1963 – a great commercial success that helped confirm his reputation among a wider artistic circle including the theatre and music (he won numerous commissions for pop record sleeves). A year later, Procktor was featured in Bryan Robertson's New Generation exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery – a show that also raised the profile of fellow artists David Hockney, Bridget Riley and John Hoyland.

Procktor's work, primarily in oils, acrylics and watercolour, drew on pop art influences, but were also influenced by his travels (he visited Italy, Greece, India, China and Japan, among other places). He was also adept at print-making, producing a sequence to illustrate a new 1976 edition of Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In 1984 he was commissioned to paint a reredos for the St John the Baptist's Chapel in Chichester Cathedral.

Procktor lived in Manchester Street, Marylebone, central London (in a flat formerly occupied by William Coldstream), where he socialised with, among others, Derek Jarman, Francis Bacon, and Cecil Beaton (several of Beaton's photographs of Procktor are in the National Portrait Gallery; Procktor's own 1967 pen and ink drawing of Joe Orton is also in the Gallery's collection).

Apart from Vaughan, Buckle, and Hockney, his social circle included Derek Jarman, Francis Bacon, and Cecil Beaton, a gay grouping some at least of whom must have raised their eyebrows when, in 1973, he married Kirsten Benson: she and her husband James Benson had been neighbours of Procktor in Manchester Street and were the founders of Odin's restaurant. The three became friends and travelling companions.

After James was killed in a traffic accident, Procktor married Kirsten. She sold her restaurant (Odin's) to Peter Langan, and Procktor, Hockney, Bacon and Lucian Freud all provided paintings to hang on the walls of Odin's and Langan's Brasserie in return for hospitality.

Procktor was elected a member of the Royal Academy in 1996 and died seven years later, aged 67.

Procktor's painting "The Guardian Readers" is the cover art for Elton John's album, "Blue Moves".

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Procktor

Further Readings:

Patrick Procktor Art and Life by Ian Massey
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Unicorn Press (August 16, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1906509093
ISBN-13: 978-1906509095
Amazon: Patrick Procktor Art and Life

This is the first major study of the British artist Patrick Procktor RA (1936-2003), a key figure of the Sixties and Seventies. The book draws on original interviews with those who knew Procktor at all stages of his life and career: amongst the large cast list are Celia Birtwell, Kaffe Fassett, Christopher Gibbs, Gilbert and George, David Hockney, Lord Snowdon and Kyffin Williams. The text draws also on unpublished archive material, including personal correspondence. The book is profusely illustrated with reproductions of the artist's work, many of which have never before been published, along with fascinating documentary photographs of Procktor and his circle. The book includes 177 colour illustrations and 49 in black and white.

More Artists at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Art

More LGBT Couples at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance

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Tags: art, days of love tb

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