Peter Doig - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 13, 2015 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Sprüth Magers Lee, London
    McCabe Fine Art

  • Exhibited

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

  • Catalogue Essay

    "Everything in Canada is on the edge of a wilderness" (Doig quoted by Richard Shift, ‘Incidents,’ in the exhibition catalogue Peter Doig, ed. Judith Nesbitt, London, Tate Publishing, 2008, p. 26; originally in Paul Bonaventura, "A Hunter in the Snow," Artefactum 9, 1994, p. 12).

    One element that is perhaps most engrained in the art of Peter Doig is that of wanderlust. An itinerant lifestyle defined Doig’s formative years as he moved between Scotland, Trinidad, Canada and England – taking memories from each with him to the next. A sense of nostalgia therefore, permeates many of his paintings as distant landscapes are conjured up in what appears to become a cathartic process of revisiting his past. Bird House (1996) contributes to a series of canvases begun in the early 1990s that Doig worked on in London which depict scenes from Canada and exemplify the artist’s mastery at capturing the enticing atmosphere of landscapes from his memory.

    These snow-filled scenes embody Doig’s fascination with portraying areas on the periphery of civilization where an unbridled nature comes to the fore but equally where the presence of Man leaves a small but noticeable imprint. In the present lot, the inclusion of a small birdhouse signals this notion, though it is engulfed by the network of tree branches that organically spreads out of the canvas. The spindly lines that dominate the top half of the canvas create an oppressing sense of dominance as the viewer is denied access to the ambiguous, dark background beyond. The shallow picture surface as a result, emphasises the almost abstract effect in this painting as the myriad of lines nod to an Abstract Expressionist lineage.

    One is reminded of Claude Monet’s snowscapes through Doig’s paintings - an influence the artist himself has noted as important. As with the works by the Impressionists, tones of pinks, yellow and blues permeate Doig’s representations of snow. However, what defines all of his paintings is a hallucinatory quality akin to dreamscapes that retain recognisable features from the everyday but which morph into something surreal or mesmerising. Doig’s works achieve this through his selection of hues. Including a more heightened or saturated combination of colours, Doig creates a lyrical sense of harmony only emphasised by his fluid brush strokes that dispel rigid forms. Instead, all of Doig’s structures curve in a manner not dissimilar to the style of Edvard Munch. The juxtaposition of the light tones with the inky blue background only emphasises the surreal qualities of this painting.

  • 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.

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Property from the Estate of Dr. Fredric S. Brandt, Miami


Bird House

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

£200,000 - 300,000 ‡♠

Sold for £242,500

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London 14 October 2015 7pm