Best known for melancholy and dreamlike renditions of bucolic landscapes, Scottish artist Peter Doig has become one of the most internationally-celebrated painters of his generation. The distinction is all the more striking for a modern artist given such ordinary-seeming subjects and his chosen medium—painterly figurative work initially put him on the global stage in the '90s.
In a new slipcased monograph of the Turner Prize-winner's work, publisher Rizzoli offers the most up-to-date and comprehensive collection of paintings and illustrations spanning Doig's career. The 400 pages include found photographs of unidentified figures and settings that have informed his oeuvre as much as his own surroundings. Though he's lived in Trinidad since moving there as a child with his family, that environment and other source material serves as starting point for paintings that have more to do with memory and subjectivity than true-to-life depictions.
Snowy, tree-filled scenes—sometimes dotted with a lone figure—account for much of the artist's subject matter. But blurry cabins and solitary, water-drifting canoes (including Doig's record-breaking "White Canoe," which sold at auction for $11.3 million in 2007) also feature prominently among the book's 350 images, each one eerie and hypnotic in its own way.
With the exception of supplemental essays by art critic Richard Shiff and Catherine Lampert, an art writer and curator, the book's layout is a clean one, comprising just one illustration per page. The design lends a powerful effect to the overall collection, allowing viewers to get lost in one painting at a time.
Doig's monograph is currently available for pre-order from Amazon or Powell's, while the official publication release date is scheduled for 11 October 2011.
I was in Anthropologie on the King’s Road yesterday and I saw a new book on one of my favourite artists of all time – Peter Doig. Published by Rizzoli, this handsome and very comprehensive monograph spans his entire career; the publishers worked with Doig on the book and it shows – the cover work he did especially for the book is stunning and the internal pages focus solely on the art, making use of white space and minimal text.
I first fell in love with Peter Doig’s work when I visited the Tate’s Britain’s exhibition of his art a few years ago. There’s a sense of haunting majesty about his paintings and of being an outsider looking in; as if the viewer is looking into someone else’s dream rather than a portrait of real life. One of my favourite paintings is ‘Blotter’; there’s a vast ‘white’ silence that comes with the winter scene, which only seems to magnify the sense that the figure (Peter Doig’s brother) is in a deep sense of thought – you can almost hear him thinking. It’s all staged though – Doig pumped water onto the ice to enhance the reflection and his brother is deliberately shown to be looking down to convey this sense of inward contemplation.
The hardback book may be £100 but, for a true fan, I think it’s worth the investment.