Christopher Pratt


John Christopher Pratt, CC ONL (born December 9, 1935) is a Canadian painter and printmaker.[1]

Christopher Pratt
John Christopher Pratt

(1935-12-09) December 9, 1935 (age 86)
EducationMount Allison University, Glasgow School of Art
Known forPainting, Printmaking
Spouse(s)Mary Pratt (divorced in 2004)


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.[1]

From 1957 to 1959 Pratt studied at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland.[2] 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. The early screen print Boat in Sand, 1961 in the National Gallery's collection was produced at this time and included in the Gallery's fourth Biennial Exhibition.[3]


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.[4]

Provincial flag of Newfoundland and Labrador, designed by Pratt and adopted in 1980

In making prints, Pratt worked from studies to the silkscreen, using abstracted collages.[5] His work 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,[6] and a ten-year retrospective of his work at The Rooms in 2015.[7]

Pratt has served on the Canadian government's Stamp Design Advisory Committee from 1972 to 1975 and on the board of the Canada Council for the Arts from 1975 to 1981. In 1980, Pratt designed the Provincial Flag of Newfoundland and Labrador.[3] In 2005, he had a major retrospective at the National Gallery of Canada.[8]

His work is found in the public collections of the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa,[9] the Vancouver Art Gallery,[10] The Rooms, and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.


  • Boat in Sand (1961)[11]
  • Good Friday (1973)[12]
  • March Night (1976)[13]
  • March Crossing (1977)[14]
  • Benoit's Cove: Sheds in Winter (1998)[15]

Awards and honoursEdit

In 1965, at the age of 30, Pratt became an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts[16] (ARCA) and a member of the Canadian Society of Graphic Art. In 1973 Pratt was named an Officer of the Order of Canada and in 1983 he became a Companion of the Order.[3] In 2018, he was awarded the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador.[17]

In 2018, he was the subject of Kenneth J. Harvey's documentary film Immaculate Memories: The Uncluttered Worlds of Christopher Pratt.[18]

Personal lifeEdit

Pratt met artist Mary West at Mount Allison University.[19] They married in 1957 and had four children: John, Anne, Barbara, and Edwyn.[20] The couple divorced in 2005.[20]

Christopher Pratt currently lives and works in St. Mary's Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador.


  1. ^ a b "John Christopher Pratt" Archived December 21, 2018, at the Wayback Machine. The Canadian Encyclopedia, April 8, 2009.
  2. ^ Creative Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-century Creative and Performing Artists (Volume 1). University of Toronto Press. December 15, 1971. ISBN 9781442637832 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ a b c "Christopher Pratt". National Gallery of Canada. Archived from the original on January 18, 2012. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  4. ^ "Christopher Pratt". AGNL. Archived from the original on March 7, 2009. Retrieved March 19, 2009.
  5. ^ Zemans, Joyce (1985). Christopher Pratt: A Retrospective. Vancouver: Vancouver Art Gallery. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  6. ^ "Mira Godard Gallery Artists: Christopher Pratt". Mira Godard Gallery. Archived from the original on February 8, 2012. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  7. ^ "Christopher Pratt: The Places I Go - The Rooms". Archived from the original on November 3, 2016. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  8. ^ "Christopher Pratt: Six Decades". Firefly Books. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  9. ^ "Christopher Pratt".
  10. ^ "Vancouver Art Gallery's Lights Out! paints 1960s Canada". The Georgia Straight. March 13, 2012.
  11. ^ "Boat in Sand".
  12. ^ "Vernissage: The Magazine of the National Gallery of Canada". National Gallery of Canada. May 18, 2003 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ "Desolation, with a hint of the uncanny" – via The Globe and Mail.
  14. ^ "March Crossing".
  15. ^ "Christopher Pratt - Drawing From Memory".
  16. ^ "Members since 1880". Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Archived from the original on May 26, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2013.
  17. ^ {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ "New documentary explores the order and disorder of N.L. painter Christopher Pratt" Archived February 12, 2019, at the Wayback Machine. CBC News Newfoundland and Labrador, August 30, 2018.
  19. ^ "Life and Times". Archived from the original on February 7, 2008. Retrieved March 19, 2009.
  20. ^ a b "East Coast painter Mary Pratt found 'little truths' in everyday objects" – via The Globe and Mail.

External linksEdit

  • Pratt's work at the National Gallery of Canada
  • Christopher Pratt at Library of Congress Authorities, with 8 catalogue records