Following his untimely death in a cycling accident at the age of 59, Vernon Pratt’s entire body of work—including “Three, Four, Five” and numerous other paintings, drawings and sculptures—was transferred to a series of unconditioned warehouses, where they remained largely forgotten for more than 15 years. In 2016, the Vernon Pratt Project formed around the aim of preserving the artist’s legacy. Through the group’s efforts, gifts of the artist’s works have been made on behalf of the Pratt family to museums and other institutions, including Duke University.
A native of Durham, Pratt attended Duke for several years before completing a B.F.A. and then an M.F.A. at the San Francisco Art Institute, under the tutelage of notable painter and printmaker Richard Diebenkorn. Pratt served as a professor of the practice of art at Duke from 1964 until his death in 2000.