Sunday 21 August 2011

Peter Doig - part 1

This part 1 of a 2-part post looking at the works of Scottish-born artist Peter Doig. Doig was born in Edinburgh in 1959, and moved with his family to Trinidad in 1962, where his father worked with a shipping and trading company, and then to Canada in 1966. He went to London in 1979 to study art at the Wimbledon School of Art, St Martin's School of Art - where he became friends with Billy Childish - and later the Chelsea School of Art where he received an MA.

In 1991 he won an important award from the Whitechapel Art Gallery, and in 1993 he won the first prize at the Liverpool John Moores University exhibition with his painting Blotter. This brought public recognition of his work, cemented in 1994, when he was nominated for the Turner Prize. From 1995 to 2000 he served as a trustee of the Tate Gallery.

1993 Blotter

In 2002, Doig moved back to Trinidad and Tobago with his family, where he set up a studio at the Caribbean Contemporary Arts centre near Port of Spain. Many of Doig's pictures are landscapes, with a number harking back to the snowy scenes of his childhood in Canada. His works are frequently based on found photographs, but are not painted in a photo-realist style, Doig instead using the photographs simply as a reference. 

Peter Doig’s work captures moments of tranquility, which contrasts with uneasy elements similar to that found in a dream. He uses unusual colour combinations and depicts scenes from unexpected angles. This gives his work a magic realist feel. In The Architect’s Home in the Ravine the thick undergrowth partly obscures the house. It is the play of twig like shapes and range of colours overlapping the building which one notices. He is also a photographer, using both his own and others' as reference for his paintings.

In 2003, Doig, together with Trinidadian artist Che Lovelace, started a weekly film club called StudioFilmClub in his studio.

In 2005 he was one of the artists exhibited in part 1 of The Triumph of Painting at the Saatchi Gallery in 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."

1990-91 White Canoe

In 2008 retrospectives of his work were held at Tate Britain, the Paris Museum of Modern Art, and in 2009 at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt.

1989-90 Hitchhiker

1989-90 Milky Way

1990 Art School

1990 Grasshopper

1990 Okahumkee (Some other Peoples Blues)

1991 Bomb Island

1991 The Architects Home in The Ravine

1991 Young Bean Farmer

1991-92 Concrete Cabin

1992 Concrete Cabin II

1993 Night Fishing

1993 Pond Life

1993 Window Pane

1993-94 Cabin Essence

1994 Boiler House

1994 Cobourg 3+1 more

1994 Concrete Cabin

1994 Jetty


  1. Does anyone else find it curious that Peter Doig states that much of his subject matter is derived from his youth in Canada yet his biography essentially begins with his move to the UK?
    A painting has surfaced bearing the signature, "Pete Doige" that was purchased by a parole officer in 1976 from a 17 year-old Canadian serving time for LSD possession.
    It is a striking precursor to Doig's later landscapes.


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