Painter Christopher Pratt is one of Canada's most prominent painters and printmakers, a reputation that has solidified since the celebrated retrospective of his work at the National Gallery of Canada in 2005. The intense realism of his work is, at first glance, deceptively simple; but behind the recognizable images lie deeper meanings. Pratt's search for reality that is magical and mysterious gives these paintings their uncanny and haunting qualities. Ever since the day in the mid-1950s when Pratt first saw the painting Early Sunday Morning by the rewned American realist, Edward Hopper, he has perfected his ability to represent the qualities of natural and artificial light, which figure so prominently in his paintings and prints. Pratt stands in the line of other great Canadian artists including Alex Colville, Lawren P. Harris, Jean Paul Lemieux, and Lionel LeMoine Fitzgerald, all of whom influenced him and the way he represents the land. Others who figured in his development as an artist include Americans Charles Sheeler, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper and Thomas Eakins. The unique and beautiful island of Newfoundland, its culture, history, geography and its weather have also influenced his work. This book traces Pratt's development as a painter and printmaker from his first early watercolors in 1952 through to his iconic paintings of his mature years. It features more than 100 works, many of which have never been reproduced before. Christopher Pratt was born in 1935 in St. John's Newfoundland and studied art at the Glasgow School of Art and Mount Allison University, in Sackville, New Brunswick. Universally ackwledged as one of the most important Canadian artists of the period, his work is included in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Musee d'Art Contemporain of Montreal, Memorial University of Newfoundland, as well as private and corporate collections in North America and around the world. He is represented by the Mira Godard Gallery in Toronto. Pratt lives and works in the village of St. Mary's Bay on the Salmonier River in Newfoundland. Over the years Pratt has exhibited both nationally and internationally, with exhibitions in New York (1976), at Canada House Cultural Centre Gallery in London that travelled to Paris, Brussels and Dublin from 1982-83, and the 49th Parallel Gallery in New York in 1988.
Tom Smart is the author of numerous books and has worked in art galleries, museums and institutions across Canada and the United States, including at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, where he was Executive Director; the Frick Art and Historical Centre in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he was Director of Collection and Exhibitions, and Director of Museum Programmes. In 2006 he was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Carnegie Mellon University.