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Procktor’s earlier thickly impasto pictures show a strong Bombergian influence. Proctor’s mature paintings are vibrant and reticent, at once allying the decorative and figurative with sensuous wit and a quite original gracefulness.
The Raphael painting that Procktor alludes to, 'Portrait of a Young Man' (c.1504), displays classical calm and pervasive golden tonality. Procktor’s figure’s theatricality owes something to the timeless if indeterminate nature of his costume, and perhaps also to facial make-up. As Derek Jarman noted: ‘Patrick wore quite simple shirts, green trousers, and sometimes a little eye-shadow. We all put on slap for an occasion: for the Slade dance out came the kohl, panstick, and henna.’
Procktor’s self portrait exudes youthful wit and sunniness, though the somewhat grimacing face suggests a fiercer, quizzical note. The sensitive, audacious colours and the crisp red sartorial line anticipate Procktor’s colourist career. Reminiscing in 1989 about Procktor at the Slade, the curator Bryan Robertson described Procktor then as ‘a very tall, gangling, firework-display of a student'.
oil on board
H 76.5 x W 61 cm
acquired by Ruth Borchard as part of the original collection