Peter Doig

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For the former Dundee West MP, see Peter Doig (politician).
Peter Doig
Peter Doig - 'No Foreign Lands' Presser - 2013-08-01.jpeg
Peter Doig at the No Foreign Lands exhibition (2013).
Born (1959-04-17) 17 April 1959 (age 58)
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Education Wimbledon, Saint Martin's & Chelsea Schools of Art
Known for Painting
Blotter, 1993, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.
Ski Jacket, 1994, dyptich, Tate Modern, London.
Architect's Home in the Ravine, 1991, Private collection.

Peter Doig (/ˈdɔɪɡ/ DOYG; born 17 April 1959[1]) is a Scottish painter. One of the most renowned living figurative painters, he has settled in Trinidad since 2002. 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] Art critic Jonathan Jones said about him: "Amid all the nonsense, impostors, rhetorical bullshit and sheer trash that pass for art in the 21st century, Doig is a jewel of genuine imagination, sincere work and humble creativity."[3]

Early life[edit]

Peter Doig was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. 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 moved to London to study at the Wimbledon School of Art in 1979-80, Saint Martin's School of Art (where he became friends with artist Billy Childish),[4] from 1980 to 1983, and Chelsea School of Art, in 1989-90, where he received an MA.[5] In 1989, the artist held a part-time job as a dresser at the English National Opera with his friend Haydn Cottam.[6]

Doig was invited to return to Trinidad in 2000, to take up an artist's residency with his friend and fellow painter Chris Ofili.[7] 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.[8]

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. He draws inspiration for his figurative work from photographs, newspaper clippings, movie scenes, record album covers and the work of earlier artists like Edvard Munch.[9] His landscapes are layered formally and conceptually, and draw on assorted art historical artists, including Munch, H.C. Westermann, Friedrich, Monet and Klimt. While his works are frequently based on found photographs (and sometimes on his own) they are not painted in a photorealist style. Doig instead uses 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."[10]

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.[11] 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.[12]

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.[13] 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."[14]

Created in the late 1990s, a series of paintings – including works such as Country-Rock (Wing Mirror) (1999) – depict a tunnel, a familiar landmark for Toronto residents since an anonymous artist painted a rainbow over it, at the northbound Don Valley Parkway, in 1972. The rainbow has been repainted more than 40 times over two decades, despite authorities’ attempts to remove it.[15]

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.[16] 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.[17]

In 2003, Doig started a weekly film club called StudioFilmClub[18] 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.[10] In 2005, he was one of the artists exhibited in part 1 of The Triumph of Painting at the Saatchi Gallery in London.

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,[19] Dallas Museum of Art (2005), Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2004), Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht (2003), and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1998).[20] 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. Doig first major exhibition in his home country was entitled "No Foreign Lands", taking place in the Scottish National Gallery, in Edinburgh, from 3 August to 3 November 2013. It was critically acclaimed and showed works created in the past ten years, mostly during his residence in Trinidad.[21] The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, in collaboration with the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, presented his own exhibition, the first major held in North America, from 25 January to 4 May 2014.


Doig is represented at many international museum collections, with famous paintings including The House that Jacques Built (1992) at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Boiler House (1994), at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Ski Jacket (1994), at Tate Modern, London.[11] He is also represented at the British Museum, in London, Walker Art Gallery, in Liverpool, Southampton City Art Gallery, Musée National d'Art Moderne, in Paris, Bonnefanten Museum, in Maastricht, Goetz Collection, in Munich, Kunsthalle, in Nuremberg, Museo Cantonale d'Arte, in Lugano, Museu de Arte Moderna - Colecção Berardo, in Sintra, National Gallery of Canada, in Ottawa, Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Modern Art, in New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, in New York, National Gallery of Art, in Washington, The Hirshhorn Museum, in Washington, Philadelphia Museum of Art and Dallas Museum of Art, among other public collections.[22]


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.[12] He was honored with amfAR’s Award of Excellence for Artistic Contributions to the Fight Against AIDS in 2009.[23] He was also named the 2017 Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon.

Art market[edit]

Doig is represented by Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London. 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. 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."[10] 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.[24] Also at Christie's London, The Architect’s Home in the Ravine (1991) was auctioned at £7.66 million in early 2013. 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.[25] His painting Gasthof zur Muldentalsperre was sold at Christie's in 2014 for $17,038,276.[26] This price was surpassed by Swamped, also sold at Christie's in 2015 for $25,950,000.

In 2016, a former Canadian corrections officer began a $5 million lawsuit against Doig over a picture he claimed was by Doig despite the artist's denial it was his work.[27] A Chicago court ruled in Doig's favour later that year, finding that the painting was actually the work of a similarly named man, Peter Doige.[28]


  1. ^ "Doig, Peter (17 April 1959)". Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Artist Peter Doig sets a sales record". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. 15 February 2013. 
  3. ^ Peter Doig / Stroke of genius: Peter Doig's eerie art whisks the mind to enchanted places, Article by Jonathan Jones, 16 May 2015, The Guardian
  4. ^ Doig's introduction for Billy Childish: A Short Study by Neal Brown.
  5. ^ Adams, Tim (26 January 2008). "Record painter". The Guardian. London. 
  6. ^ Peter Doig, Gasthof (2002-2004) Christie's Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Auction, 1 July 2014, London.
  7. ^ F. G. Cottam (31 January 2008), "Peter Doig: A perfectionist in paradise", The Independent.
  8. ^ "Peter Doig: Go West, Young Man". British Council. Retrieved 29 May 2011. 
  9. ^ Grace Glueck (6 December 2002), "Peter Doig", New York Times.
  10. ^ a b c Diane Solway (November 2008). "Peter Doig". W magazine. Retrieved 20 November 2008. 
  11. ^ a b Peter Doig, The Architect's Home in the Ravine (1991) Christie's Post-War & Contemporary Art, 13 February 2013, London.
  12. ^ a b Peter Doig Tate Gallery, London.
  13. ^ "Peter Doig, 5 February – 11 May 2008", Tate Britain, London.
  14. ^ "Biography for Peter Doig", Dominic Guerrini - Peter Doig Prints.
  15. ^ Carol Vogel (30 June 2014), "Bacon Painting Sets Pace for Auctions in London", New York Times.
  16. ^ Christopher Knight (15 February 2002), "Bristling With Attitude", Los Angeles Times.
  17. ^ Stuart Jeffries (15 February 2002), "Peter Doig: the outsider comes home", The Guardian.
  18. ^ StudioFilmClub blog.
  19. ^ "National Galleries eyes up Doig after £5.7m sale", Sunday Herald, 11 February 2007
  20. ^ "Peter Doig". Victoria Miro. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  21. ^ "Peter Doig – No Foreign Lands". National Galleries of Scotland. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  22. ^ "Peter Doig Biography – Peter Doig on artnet". Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  23. ^ Award of Excellence for Artistic Contributions to the Fight Against AIDS, amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.
  24. ^ Carol Vogel (30 June 2009), "Bidding Is Thin at Christie’s in London", New York Times.
  25. ^ Carol Vogel (28 June 2013), "Art Fatigue in London", New York Times.
  26. ^ "Peter Doig (British, 1959)". Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  27. ^ "Artist sued for $5M over painting he insists he didn't paint". Seattle Times. 9 July 2016. 
  28. ^ "Artist Peter Doig wins case over painting he said was not his work". BBC News. 24 August 2016. Retrieved 24 August 2016. 


  • Derek Walcott, Morning, Paramin, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2016), ISBN 9780374213428
  • Ulf Küster and Richard Shiff, Peter Doig, Hatje Cantz (2015), ISBN 9783775738682
  • Hilton Als, Stéphane Aquin, Angus Cook, Keith Hartley, Peter Doig: No Foreign Lands, Hatje Cantz (2013), ISBN 9783775737234
  • Richard Shiff, Peter Doig: Early Works, Michael Werner (2013), ISBN 9781938809064
  • Kevin Power, Peter Doig: New Paintings, Michael Werner (2012), ISBN 9781885013941
  • Catherine Lampert and Richard Shiff, Peter Doig, Rizzoli (2011), ISBN 9780847834730
  • Philip Hoare, Peter Doig: New Paintings, Michael Werner and Gavin Brown's enterprise (2009), ISBN 9781885013729
  • Judith Nesbitt (ed.), Peter Doig, Tate (2008), ISBN 9781933045849
  • Rudi Fuchs and Hans-Werner Schmidt, Go West Young Man, Walther Koenig (2007), ISBN 9783865601919
  • Catherine Grenier, Adrian Searle, and Kitty Scott, Peter Doig, Phaidon Press (2007), ISBN 9780714845043
  • Kadee Robbins (ed.), Peter Doig: Works on Paper, Rizzoli (2006)
  • Nicholas Laughlin and Alice Koegel, Peter Doig: STUDIOFILMCLUB, Walther Koenig (2006), ISBN 9783883759418
  • Bernhard Schwenk and Hilke Wagner, Peter Doig: Metropolitain, Walther Koenig (2004), ISBN 9783883758336
  • Doing, Peter; Kleijn, Ineke; Van den Bosch,, Paula (2003). Charley's Space. Hatje Cantz. ISBN 9783775713337. 
  • Adrian Searle, Peter Doig: Works on Paper, Michael Werner (2002), ISBN 1885013329

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