Peter Doig

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Peter Doig
Peter Doig - 'No Foreign Lands' Presser - 2013-08-01.jpeg
Peter Doig (2013), No Foreign Lands exhibition.
Born (1959-04-17) 17 April 1959 (age 54)
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Nationality Scottish, British
Field Painting
Training Wimbledon, Saint Martin's & Chelsea Schools of Art
Blotter, 1993.
Ski Jacket, 1994.
Architect's Home in the Ravine, oil on canvas, 200cm x 275cm, 1991.

Peter Doig (/ˈdɔɪɡ/ DOYG; born 17 April 1959[1]) is a Scottish painter. Since 2002 he has lived in Trinidad. In 2007, his painting White Canoe sold at Sotheby's for $11.3 million, then an auction record for a living European artist. In February 2013, his painting, "The Architect's Home in the Ravine" sold for $12 million at a London auction.[2]

Early life[edit]

Peter Doig was born in Edinburgh. In 1962 he moved with his family to Trinidad, where his father worked with a shipping and trading company, and then in 1966 to Canada. He then moved to London in 1979 to study fine art at the Wimbledon School of Art, Saint Martin's School of Art (where he became friends with artist Billy Childish[3]) and Chelsea School of Art, where he received an MA.[4] In the mid-1980s, he lived and worked in Montreal.[5]

Doig was invited to return to Trinidad in 2000, to take up an artist's residency with his friend and fellow painter Chris Ofili.[6] In 2002, Doig moved back to the island, where he set up a studio at the Caribbean Contemporary Arts centre near Port of Spain. He also became professor at the fine arts academy in Düsseldorf, Germany .[7]

Artistic practice[edit]

Many of Doig's paintings are landscapes, somewhat abstract, with a number harking back to the snowy scenes of his childhood in Canada.[citation needed]. He draws inspiration for his figurative work from photographs, newspaper clippings, movie scenes, record album covers, the work of earlier artists like Edvard Munch.[8] His landscapes are layered formally and conceptually, and draw on assorted art historical artists, including Munch, Claude Monet, Friedrich, and Klimt. While his works are frequently based on found photographs (and sometimes of his own) they are not painted in a photorealist style. Doig instead using the photographs simply for reference.[citation needed] In a 2008 interview, Doig referred to his use of photographs and postcards as painting "by proxy" and noted that his paintings "made no attempt to reflect setting."[9]

Shortly after Doig's graduation from the Chelsea College of Art and Design, he was awarded the prestigious Whitechapel Artist Prize culminating in a solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1991. The prospect of such a major institutional show at such a formative stage in his career spurred an intense period of creativity in which Doig produced a small number of large format canvases, which he now sees as the thematic matrix for his subsequent oeuvre. Included in the Whitechapel exhibition were major works including Swamped (1990), Iron Hill (1991), and The Architect's Home in the Ravine (1991). The Architect's Home in the Ravine (1991) shows Eberhard Zeidler's modernist home in Rosedale at the heart of the Toronto ravine.[10] The influence of the Canadian landscape, as well as of Doig's own leisure interests, can be seen in the painting Ski Jacket (1994), a view of a busy ski resort.[11]

Doig is best known for his series of paintings of Le Corbusier’s modernist communal living apartments known as l’Unité d’Habitation located at Briey-en-Forêt, in France.[citation needed]. In the early 1990s Doig was involved with a group of architects and artists who operated from the building.[12] The modern urban structures are partially revealed and hidden by the forest that surrounds them. As Doig explains: “When you walk through an urban environment, you take the strangeness of the architecture for granted”.[citation needed]

Doig's work captures moments of tranquillity, which contrast with uneasy oneiric elements. He uses unusual colour combinations and depicts scenes from unexpected angles, all contributing to give his work a magic realist feel. Illustrating this notion, Doig's Gasthof zur Muldentalsperre (2001) shows two storybook figures, each dressed in elaborate, old-fashioned military garb, at the gated entrance to a fortified dam whose heavy masonry construction is rendered in jewel-like colors. Off in the distance, beneath a melting sky reminiscent of Edvard Munch, a lone canoe floats across the dark lake.[13] Canoes regularly appear in his work, freighted symbols of Canada. His 1997 painting Canoe-Lake was inspired by the 1981 slasher film Friday the 13th.[14]

In 2003, Doig started a weekly film club called StudioFilmClub in his studio together with Trinidadian artist Che Lovelace. Doig not only selects and screens the films; he also paints the poster advertising the week's film. He told an interviewer that he finds this ongoing project liberating because it's "much more immediate" than his usual work.[9] In 2005, he was one of the artists exhibited in part 1 of The Triumph of Painting at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Paul Schimmel, chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles said in an interview that the sale made Doig go from being “a hero to other painters to a poster child of the excesses of the market."[9]

His work has also been said to contain ideas associated with the new epoch in art called 'Metamodernism'. This epoch marks not a departure from post-modernism, but rather an oscillation between modernism and post-modernism. Metamodernism is said to be defined by 'naivety', 'pragmatic idealism' and 'moderate fanaticism'.[citation needed]


Doig has had major solo exhibitions at Tate Britain (2008), touring to Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt,[15] Dallas Museum of Art (2005), Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2004), Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht (2003), and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1998).[16] Doig's held his first solo exhibition since the 2008 retrospective at the Tate Britain in September 2012 and inaugurated Michael Werner Gallery's new location in London's Mayfair.


Many of the works from Doig's early years are now housed within international museum collections, including The House that Jacques Built (1992) at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Boiler House (1994), promised to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Ski Jacket (1994), Tate Modern, London.[10]


In 1993, Doig won the first prize at the John Moores exhibition with his painting Blotter. This brought public recognition, cemented in 1994, when he was nominated for the Turner Prize. From 1995 to 2000, he was a trustee of the Tate Gallery.[11] He was honored with amfAR’s Award of Excellence for Artistic Contributions to the Fight Against AIDS in 2009.[17]

Art market[edit]

Doig is represented by Victoria Miro Gallery, London;[16] Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London; and Gavin Brown Enterprise, New York. In 2007, a painting of Doig's, entitled White Canoe, sold at Sotheby's for $11.3 million, then an auction record for a living European artist. In 2009, Night Playground (1997–98), a densely painted landscape painting being sold by Joel Mallin, a New York collector, went for $5 million at a Christie's auction in London, well above its high estimate of $3 million.[18] Also at Christie's London, The Architect’s Home in the Ravine (1991) was auctioned at £7.66 million in early. Later that year, César Reyes, a psychiatrist who lives in Puerto Rico and is one of the artist’s biggest collectors, sold Jetty, a 1994 canvas of a lone figure on a dock at sunset, for $11.3 million.[19]



  • Hans-Jürgen Tast (Hrsg.) As I Was Moving. Kunst und Leben (Schellerten/Germany 2004) (z.m.a. K.) ISBN 3-88842-026-1;

External links[edit]