Patrick Caulfield was a British pop artist. His works are quite minimal and feature bright colors, images you will find familiar although forgettable in the wash of pop. One thing you will not forget: his tombstone. Patrick Caulfield has an amazing tombstone.
I first caught a glimpse of it on Tumblr and was obsessed with it. Through a quick reverse image search, I was able to find Caulfield’s final resting place. The stone is located in the East section of Highgate Cemetery in London. The grounds feature many famous plots, from Karl Marx to Malcolm Mclaren. It appears that most of the monuments to these people are fairly standard—carved faces in stone, giant wordy tombs, a few weathered people—with Caulfield’s as a futuristic exception.
His tomb boldly, low moans “DEAD” in sharp Modern (Tumblr ready) edges along with his name, years of life, and the blunt descriptor “DEEPLY LOVED.” It’s a beautiful statement that is entirely extracted from his aesthetic, one that almost clarifies and intensifies his canon. It’s all very funny and very honest and feels incredibly forward thinking for a place dedicated to the past.
As Frieze points out, “his spartan sensibility was not only distinctively modern but carried within it a wry humour that, despite his protestations, forever linked him to the practitioners of pop art.” His final work of art and resting place seems to clarify it all, making him even more remarkable than previously thought. You certainly will remember him in the mass of overly vocal plumage that is pop art. Who knew death could look so hip? Thanks for that, Patrick.
Catch more of Patrick’s work over on Artsy.