Christopher Pratt

Canadian Artist; ARCA CSGA OC (1935-2022)

Christopher Pratt was born December 9, 1935 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Christopher Pratt first started painting watercolours in 1952. In 1953 he attended Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick as a student in pre-medicine. At Mount Allison he quickly became interested in Fine Arts, especially painting. He was encouraged to paint by Lawren P. Harris and Alex Colville. From 1957-1959 Pratt studied at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. During the summers, he returned to Newfoundland to work as a construction surveyor at the American Naval Base at Argentia. The training he received in precise measuring was applied to his paintings. In 1959 Pratt returned to Mount Allison University to complete in 1961 a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. During this period he began to make silkscreen prints. 

In 1961, Pratt accepted the position of curator at the newly opened Memorial University Art Gallery in St. John’s. He remained at the gallery for two and a half years before deciding to concentrate on his painting full-time, moving his family to Salmonier, Newfoundland. 

Pratt was the subject of a major touring retrospective organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1985, a touring print retrospective and catalogue raisonné, The Prints of Christopher Pratt: 1958-1991 in 1992, a major traveling exhibition organized by the National Gallery of Canada in 2005, and a ten-year retrospective of his work at The Rooms in 2015. His work is found in many public collections including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, The Rooms, and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.   

Pratt has served on many committees and councils, including the Federal government’s Stamp Design Advisory Committee (1972–1975) and the Board of the Canada Council for the Arts (1975–1981). In 1980, Pratt designed the Provincial Flag of Newfoundland and Labrador. He is a recipient of several honorary doctorates and the Order of Canada.


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