All art lovers always have one particular Peter Doig artwork that is on the top of the list of his/her favorite paintings by this popular artist. There are many Doig’s artworks with similar subjects, where the style and technique are similarly applied; yet, all of his paintings are unique in their own way. Peter Doig is one of the most renowned contemporary artists alive, and his works can be found in the most prestige public and private collections. In addition, Doig’s artworks have been regularly sold at major auctions for very high prices.
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Peter Doig spent his childhood in Trinidad and in Canada. During the 1980s, the artist moved to London, where he studied and gained a reputation that he still has. In 2000, he moved back to Trinidad, where he set up a studio at the Caribbean Contemporary Arts Centre near Port of Spain.
Peter Doig oeuvre is best-known for his works that have characteristics of magical realism. On the other hand, many experts and critics describe his work as figurative art. But, the majority of experts agree that his work is largely related to Postmodernism and Postmodern Art. Indeed, Doig’s amazing paintings rejects the notions of grand narratives, the boundary between high-class art and low forms of art is not as visible as in other contemporary artists’ works, while there are no big ideas or “truths” that Doig wants to communicate with his paintings. Since Postmodern Art is usually related with conceptual art, installation and computer art, the fact that one painter is described as Postmodernist speaks a lot about the originality and eclecticism of Doig’s approach.
In addition, there are experts claiming that Doig’s art has elements of Metamodernism, or Meta-Art, which oscillates between Modernity and Postmodernism. That means that Doig continues the Modernist painting practice, while keeping the postmodern self-conscious. Also, Metamodernism can be defined as naivety, pragmatic idealism and moderate fanaticism, which is quite visible in Peter Doig artworks.
It was the 1990s when Doig became famous British artist, and since then, he has exhibited at some of the most important galleries and museums. In parallel, the value of his work was growing on market, while same sales of his artworks broke the records when they were sold. Peter Doig remains one of the most expansive painters in contemporary art.
Editors’ Tip: Peter Doig (Contemporary Artists)
Peter Doig oeuvre is an exceptional direction in contemporary art. It’s almost impossible to classify his artwork according to the strict boundaries of art movements. The majority of the experts connect Doig’s art with Postmodernism, however there are those who describe his art as figurative art, and even abstract art. Many Peter Doig artworks have elements of magical realism as well. Indeed, it’s not easy to describe his paintings – it looks like realism, it depicts reality, but the artist applies mythical and abstract elements onto compositions. Since many paintings are described by the creator himself, we recommend you the book Peter Doig (Contemporary Artists) which contains interviews with the artist and essays in his art.
Reflection (What Does your Soul Look Like?) is a painting created in 1996. The title of this painting introduces a certain level of existentialism, implying that the figure reflected in the surface of the water is wondering about the nature of his own soul. The viewers also look at the gorgeously rendered red cipher and are invited to contemplate our own lives and spirit. Although the subject is not identified, it is a painting of his brother's reflection. This stunning artwork was sold at Christie’s New York in 2009 for $10,162,500. For more information about the artwork, please click here.
Jetty is a Peter Doig artwork that could easily be described as a piece of abstract art. According to R. Shiff who co-edited the book about Peter Doig: To paraphrase [Doig's] description of Jetty, of what happens across its surface: A dream is coming on. Doig paints the beginnings of dreams. Jetty is a beginning, a possibility, a condition, a situation without a plot. We often remember the endings of our dreams, as if they were plotted to have a vaguely rational outcome. I have never remembered a beginning. Doig creates what we do not remember, nor even imagine. This amazing piece was sold for $11,363,020 at Christie’s London in 2013. It was sold by César Reyes, a psychiatrist who lives in Puerto Rico and is one of the artist’s biggest collectors. Click here for more information about the artwork.
White Canoe is one of the Doig’s best-known works. Executed in 1991, this is certainly the best of a series of “canoe” paintings which he executed just after leaving Chelsea School of Art in the early 1990s. At its most fundamental, painting is about the nature of looking, and the power of the reflection has always mystified us as the secondary version of reality – in much the same way as painting itself. This amazing piece of art was sold for $11,304,650 at Sotheby’s London in 2007. This was an auction record for a living European artist at that time. For more information about the painting itself, click here!
Road House was created in 1991. As Gareth Jones explains: Roadhouse is one of a series of canvases in which a bleak mental landscape-abandoned buildings, telegraph wires, lowering skies- is sandwiched between abstract panels which function as surrogate sky and ground. The arrangement was inspired by the words of a 19th Century settler in Canada's western prairies, quoted in a book on ice-hockey: Man is a grasshopper here, a mere insect making way between the enormous discs of Heaven and Earth. The painting was sold at Christie’s New York in 2014, for $11,925,000. For more information, click here!
Featured Image: Peter Doig - Road House, detail
Many of Doig’s paintings represent the landscapes of different places artist has lived in. The rainbow tunnel off the Don Valley Parkway, or DVP, is a view immediately familiar to the majority of Toronto population. Painted in 1999, Country-Rock (Wing-Mirror) is one of Peter Doig’s most recognizable works. Replete with mystery and intrigue, this painting is definitive of the artist’s cinematic visual code; a melding of memory with imagination, landscape with dreamscape. The painting was sold for $14,532,220 at Sotheby’s London in 2014. For more info, click here!
Featured Image: Peter Doig - Country-Rock (Wing-Mirror), detail
Cabin Essence is part of the artist’s celebrated sequence of nine Concrete Cabins paintings, completed over a period of seven years. It was executed between 1993 and 1994. During the 1990s, Doig was best-known for this series of paintings of Le Corbusier’s modernist communal living apartments known as l’Unité d’Habitation located at Briey-en-Forêt, in France. This painting was sold for $14,577,080 at Christie’s London in 2015. Click here for more information.
Featured Image: Peter Doig - Cabin Essence, detail
The famous painting The Architect's Home in the Ravine was executed in 1991, when Doig was interested in architecture. Here is how the artist explains the painting: When I went to see the Le Corbusier building for the first time, I never dreamed that I would end up painting it. I went for a walk in the woods on one visit and as I was walking back I suddenly saw the building anew. I had no desire to paint it on its own, but seeing it through the trees, that is when I found it striking. The painting was sold for $16,070,680 at Christie’s London in February 2016. Click here for more information.
An extremely rare self-portrait by the artist, Peter Doig’s Gasthof, 2002-2004, comes to life under a scintillating night sky, as the silhouette of a single canoe drifts idly in the distant lake. As the artist explains: In Gasthof, for instance, I made drawings and sketches of the colored stone wall. I was first engaged in painting the wall, a dam actually, and the problem was how to structure the gateway. I wanted to find some gatekeepers for the gateway, but before I could find the right ones I painted a few versions without any. Gasthof was sold for $17,026,640 at Christie’s London in 2014. Click here for more information.
Executed on a vast, immersive scale, Pine House (Rooms for Rent), painted in 1994, represents one of Peter Doig’s most important works. It was painted in the same year the artist was nominated for the Turner Prize and won the first prize in the Prix Eliette von Karajan. It is widely believed that the artist’s best artworks were created in this period. Pine House (Rooms for Rent) was sold for $18,085,000, at Christie’s New York in 2014. Click here for more information about the artwork.
And the winner is Peter Doig’s masterpiece Swamped. Painted in 1990, Swamped marks a pivotal moment in the artist’s career, falling shortly before Doig’s graduation from the Chelsea College of Art and Design and his being awarded the prestigious Whitechapel Artist Prize, which culminated in a solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1991. This amazing painting was sold for $25,925,000 at Christie’s New York in 2015. For more information about this masterpiece, click here!
All Images used for illustrative purposes only.