Peter Doig - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Monday, June 25, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Victoria Miro Gallery, London
    Private Collection, Berlin (acquired from the above)

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘I think the way that the paintings come out is more a way of trying to depict an image that is not about reality, but one that is somehow in between the actuality of a scene and something that is in your head’ (Peter Doig, quoted in Peter Doig – Cabins and Canoes: The Unreasonable Silence of the World, exh. cat., Faurschou Foundation, Beijing, 2017, p. 221)

    Abstract Composition #1 was painted in 1990 at a seminal moment in Peter Doig’s career, having just graduated from the Chelsea College of Art and Design. Doig’s breakthrough works of the early 1990s were remarkably and refreshingly unlike anything else being produced by his contemporaries, they were highly expressive and with noticeable vivacity and spontaneity. These early works propelled Doig into the spotlight at the very pinnacle of the contemporary art scene in London, and were a seminal precursor to the development of his oeuvre. The following year, the artist was awarded the prestigious Whitechapel Artist Prize, and with that had his first solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, and soon thereafter was short listed for the 1994 Turner Prize.

    Abstract Composition #1 is rendered in generous impasto, saturated with hues of honey-gold yellows, rich, deep crimson and underlying tones of viridian green, and brought to life with effortlessly placed white-hot highlights. The loose composition, suspended somewhere between figuration and abstraction, is constructed around a distinctive horizontal division of the plane and then further fragmented by tangled branches of paint, creating an illusionary sense of spatiality and depth. Imbued with a lush vitality, the present work exemplifies Doig’s ambition to seamlessly blur the distinctions between the real and the fantastical, between memory and imagination, through an appropriation of forms and vivid colours that simulate our recollection of a place through a veil of painterly abstraction. His paintings, despite not embodying the specifics of a particular time or location, bear a prevailing and atmospheric sense of place: ‘They’re about my idea of what that place is. The place is a kind of portal to possibilities in painting. The painting is what it becomes, and when I start I don’t know what that will be. That’s what makes the process so fascinating’ (Peter Doig, quoted in Mark Hudson, ‘Peter Doig Interview: The Triumph of Painting, The Telegraph, 2 August 2013, online).

  • 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


Abstract Composition #1

signed, titled and dated 'PETER DOIG 1990 "ABSTRACT COMPOSITION #1"' on the reverse
oil on canvas
39 x 39 cm (15 3/8 x 15 3/8 in.)
Painted in 1990.

£130,000 - 200,000 

Contact Specialist
Tamila Kerimova
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4065

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 26 June 2018