Christopher Pratt, an esteemed Canadian painter and designer of Newfoundland and Labrador’s provincial flag, has died at 86.
The artist died Sunday at his home on Newfoundland’s Salmonier River, his family said in a statement issued later in the day.
“Lauded from an early age as one of Canada’s finest painters and printmakers, he was faithful to his art all of his life,” the statement read. “Until the day he could no longer get there under his own steam, he headed to his studio every morning without fail. He taught us how to look, and how to see. We will miss him every day.”
Pratt leaves his brother, four children, 11 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
The family statement said his “best friend and sometime wife,” fellow painter Mary Pratt, died in 2018.
As a painter and printmaker, Christopher Pratt often explored landscapes, architecture and the body.
Toronto’s Mira Godard Gallery, which is celebrating 60 years of promoting the Canadian art world, represented Pratt for over five decades.
Owner and director Gisella Giacalone, who shared a close professional relationship and friendship with Pratt, said she was completely heartbroken over his death.
“I’m a great fan of his work on top of it all; he was a dedicated and talented artist,” she said in an interview.
“He’s one of Canada’s greatest artists, and he has had a profound influence on Canadian art,” she added. “He had so much artistic integrity, and I think you see that in the work. He produced many memorable and important works which will last forever.”
Pratt’s work is on display at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, The Rooms in St. John’s and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
Due to a notable love for his home province, which also had an impact on his work, Pratt was asked in 1980 to design the Newfoundland flag that still flies today.
“While he seldom admitted it, he was always delighted to see his design flying above private properties across the province, or held triumphantly aloft by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians around the world,” the family statement said.
“He was never bothered by what politicians thought, but he was flattered and proud when the people of Newfoundland and Labrador embraced the flag as their own.”
In recognition of his extensive body of work, Pratt became a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1983 and a recipient of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2018.