Peter Doig (b. 1959)
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VA… Read more WORKS FROM THE ERNESTO ESPOSITO COLLECTION
Peter Doig (b. 1959)


Peter Doig (b. 1959)
signed and dated 'Peter Doig 2000' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
38 5/8 x 49¼in. (98 x 125cm.)
Painted in 2000
Galleria Raucci/Santamaria, Naples (080400).
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2000.
Naples, Galeria Raucci/Santamaria, Peter Doig, April-May 2000.
Special notice
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis. Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

Lot Essay

A distant figure is glimpsed through a lattice-like web of branches that implies that we are unseen viewers, watching from afar. Is this deliberate? Is there an element of stealth? Are we a threat to the figure, perhaps preparing to take a shot?... Target, painted in 2000, contains the nostalgia for a Canada of the mind that has so distinctly flavoured so many of Peter Doig's greatest pictures. At the same time, it evokes the sense that this is a still from some imaginary movie, a decontextualised fragment of a horror movie. It is telling that Doig himself has taken horror films as inspiration for some of his paintings, and that he even worked painting sets on horror films when he was younger. While the source images for almost all of his paintings are photographs that he has either found or taken, and are therefore not directly associated with the world of horror, he still manages to instil a sense of lurking dread in his viewer. In Target, it is implied that the viewer has become the source of that dread.

Doig's paintings are about memory, but this sense of memory is evoked not only through his use of old photos, but also through the actual creation of the picture itself. In Target, the fact that the branches obscure the view forces us to reappraise the act of looking, both within and outwith the context of art. And the branches also add an almost abstract element, albeit one firmly grounded in the figurative world. These jagged red streaks bring our attention to the act of painting, to the surface of the picture, to the fact that it is a two-dimensional surface packed with colours that have come almost inadvertently to represent a winter scene. Discussing the various elements that combine in his art, Doig himself explained that,

'People often say that my paintings remind them of particular scenes from films or certain passages from books, but I think it's a different thing altogether. There is something more primal about painting. In terms of my own paintings, there is something quite basic about them, which inevitably is to do with their materiality. They are totally non-linguistic. There is no textual support to what you are seeing. Often I am trying to create a 'numbness.' I am trying to create something that is questionable, something that is difficult, if not impossible, to put into words' (Doig, quoted in A. Searle, K. Scott & C. Grenier, Peter Doig, London 2007, p. 125).

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