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  • Provenance

    Sprüth Magers Lee, London
    McCabe Fine Art, Stockholm
    Private Collection
    Phillips, London, 14 October 2015, lot 3
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    London, Ridinghouse Editions, Peter Doig- Small Paintings, 11 December 1996 - 25 January 1997

  • Catalogue Essay

    Peter Doig’s paintings exude an otherworldly quality, and represent alluring syntheses of the artist’s nostalgia and adept mastery and melange of painting and photographic realism. Bird House, painted in 1996, is a beautiful ode to the artist’s memories of snowy Canada, a country in which he spent his formative years, characterised by an itinerant childhood and subsequent adult life, moving between Scotland, Canada, England, and Trinidad.

    Bird House hails from an extremely desirable period of Doig’s works, during which time he produced his most sought-after snowscapes. These works from the 1990s foreshadowed Doig’s quick rise to critical acclaim, highlighted by his Whitechapel Artist Award in 1991, and his becoming a Trustee of the Tate Gallery in 1995.

    In the early 1990s the artist began creating pieces that depicted motifs of snow and skiing: works which were at once figurative and fantastical, and intensely retrospective. “I often paint scenes with snow because snow somehow has this effect of drawing you inwards and is frequently used to suggest retrospection and nostalgia and make-believe.” (Peter Doig, quoted in Paul Bonaventura, “A Hunter in the Snow,” Artefactum 9, 1994, p.12) This nostalgic propensity for retrospection can perhaps be likened to his steadfast commitment to painting: then a refreshing contrast to the works of his peers in the 1990s, typified by shock tactics and a stark presentational mien. Doig’s ardent study of modern masters such as Claude Monet, Edvard Munch, and Paul Gauguin is thus self-evident in Bird House.

    In the present work, the titular bird house is engulfed by a spectacular web of gnarling branches, a testament to Doig’s endless fascination with portraying areas on the periphery of civilisation, where an unbridled nature comes to the fore but equally where the presence of Man leaves a small but noticeable imprint. The spindly lines that sprawl outwards in the top half of the canvas create an impenetrable web of fractal lines, denying the viewer access to the fence in the background. The collapsed and compressed image is at once abstract, an effect achieved by Doig’s painterly method of working ‘backwards’ when creating his works—beginning with the foreground’s birdhouse, extended rope, and the tree bark, he then works into the painting, filling in the gaps between the branches, and adding in the fence.

    The muted hues of pinks, blues, and yellow are immediately reminiscent of Monet’s snowscapes, an influence which the artist himself has noted as important. Set against the tactile, grainy wooden panel, Bird House is meticulously rendered, and imbued with a hallucinatory or dreamlike quality. Doig’s careful selection of hues and varying levels of saturation of pigments, as well as light, fluid brushstrokes injects the piece with a palpable surrealism, a quality that is undeniably Doig, and which has earned him his title as the painter’s painter.

  • Artist Biography

    Peter Doig

    Scottish • 1959

    Peter Doig is widely considered one of the most renowned contemporary figurative painters. Born in Scotland and raised in Trinidad and Canada, Doig achieved his breakthrough in 1991 upon being awarded the prestigious Whitechapel Artist Prize and receiving a solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London.

    Doig draws on personal memories and source imagery in his pursuit of exploring the slippage between reality, imagination and memory through painting. The material properties of paint and expressive possibilities of color thereby serve to approximate the foggy, inarticulate sensation of remembering. His practice maintains a thin and balanced line between landscape and figure, superimposing photographic imagery and memories, both real and imagined.

    View More Works

Property from an Important European Collector

41

Bird House

1996
signed, titled and dated 'Peter Doig "BIRD HOUSE" 96' on the reverse.
oil on panel
48 x 35 cm (18 7/8 x 13 3/4 in.)
Painted in 1996.

Estimate
HK$2,000,000 - 3,000,000 
€241,000-361,000
$256,000-385,000

Sold for HK$5,360,000

Contact Specialist
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+852 2318 2023

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20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 28 May 2017