Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
Peter Doig (b. 1959)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE GERMAN COLLECTION
Peter Doig (b. 1959)

Blotter

Details
Peter Doig (b. 1959)
Blotter
signed, titled and dated 'STUDY FOR BLOTTER 93 Peter Doig' (on the reverse)
oil on paper
53½ x 11 3/8in. (136 x 29cm.)
Painted in 1993
Provenance
Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1995.
Exhibited
Berlin, Contemporary Fine Arts, Peter Doig - Blotter, 1995.
Maastricht, Bonnefantenmuseum, PETER DOIG - Charley’s Space, 2003-2004, p. 136 (illustrated in colour, 73). This exhibition later travelled to Nimes, Carré d’Art, Musée d’art contemporain de Nîmes.
Dallas, Dallas Museum of Art, Peter Doig - Works on Paper, 2005-2006, p. 165, no. 25 (incorrectly dated 1995; illustrated in colour, p. 34). This exhibition later travelled to Vero Beach, The Gallery at Windsor and Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario.
London, Tate Britain, Peter Doig, 2008, p. 157 (incorrectly dated 1995; illustrated in colour, p. 129). This exhibition later travelled to Paris, ARC/ Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Frankfurt, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.
Berlin, Contemporary Fine Arts, Peter Doig. NOT FOR SALE, 2009.
Special Notice

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.

Brought to you by

Annemijn van Grimbergen
Annemijn van Grimbergen

Lot Essay

‘The title refers to (amongst other things) the notion of one’s being absorbed into a place or landscape, and to the process through which the painting developed: soaking paint into the canvas. The figure is deliberately shown looking down into the reflection; this is to suggest inward thought, rather than some sort of contemplation of the scene’ – P. Doig

‘[Doig’s] own brother is the figure in Blotter ... dressed in the winter jacket fashionable at the time, dawdling on an ice-covered pond. The title makes reference to pigment-absorbing paper and the paper on which reality-escaping drugs are distributed’ – C. Lampert

‘Rather than asserting a figure or subject, [Doig] is concerned with their being swallowed up, eternally fixed, in opposition to a moving universe that will submerge them. One of his referential works, Blotter, with a man alone amid an icy landscape, is a direct illustration of this process of numbing down the present’ – C. Grenier

The first work on paper that Peter Doig ever exhibited, Blotter is an exquisite oil study that informed the seminal 1993 painting of the same title, held in the Walker Art Gallery at the National Museums Liverpool. A lone figure, isolated in both time and space, stares at the liquescent ground beneath him, his reflection dissolving down the length of the picture plane in flowing ribbons of pigment. Painted in London, the work represents a memory of the artist’s Canadian youth, based on a photograph of his own brother lost in a state of reverie. Awarded first place in the prestigious John Moores Prize of 1993, the larger canvas – whose scale and proportions were calculated from the present work – is widely recognised as one of Doig’s finest and most important early paintings. It marks a critical turning point in his career, executed shortly before his Turner Prize nomination in 1994. Blurring the boundaries between the remembered and the imaginary, both the painting and the subsequent work on paper represent a powerful fusion of subject and technique. As Doig explains, ‘The title refers to (amongst other things) the notion of one’s being absorbed into a place or landscape, and to the process through which the painting developed: soaking paint into the canvas. The figure is deliberately shown looking down into the reflection; this is to suggest inward thought, rather than some sort of contemplation of the scene’ (P. Doig, quoted in C. Grenier, ‘Melancholy Resistance’, in Peter Doig: Charley’s Space, exh. cat., Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, 2003, p. 31). The present study has been included in many of the artist’s most important exhibitions, including Peter Doig. Charley’s Space at the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, in 2003, as well as solo shows at the Musée d’Art Contemporain des Nîmes, the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas, and Doig’s major touring retrospective that began at Tate Britain, London, in 2008. A further study of Blotter – an etching from 1996 – is also held in the Tate collection.

Within a practice that seeks to capture the sensations of memory and vision, Doig’s early oeuvre is saturated with daydreams of the Canadian landscape that defined his youth. The theme of reflection – filtered through the country’s vast lakes and snow-covered panoramas – would recur throughout many of his most significant works of the 1990s, including Cobourg 3 + 1 More, 1994, Reflection (What Does Your Soul Look Like?), 1996, and Echo Lake, 1998 (Tate, London). As Doig has recounted, however, the title of the present work also has a further layer of meaning, referring to a teenage experiment with blotter acid, or LSD, in 1974. Doig recalls his two friends exclaiming ‘“Look at the floor!” ... So I got off my bike and I put my foot on the floor and it felt like the road was almost sticky, and as I lifted up my foot it was spreading out, all the cracks in the road were spreading’. As Doig goes on to explain, ‘I called this painting Blotter, partly referring to the acid and the way the figure is looking down at his feet and everything is moving around him. But that’s a kind of subtext – it’s really just a painting ... [it’s also about] loneliness or on your ownness and trying to understand what it means to be inside your own head’ (P. Doig, quoted in conversation with U. Küster, in Peter Doig, exh. cat., Fondation Beyeler, Basel, 2014, pp. 19-20). Simultaneously a portrait of his brother and a fragment of his own past, the work captures not only the memory of a hallucinogenic experience, but also the fluid, intangible workings of his psyche. As waterlogged rivulets of paint cascade down the paper, the scene becomes a metaphor for the inarticulate feeling of remembering – of peering through time, looking back, looking inwards. It is this poetic, self-reflexive quality which has come to define Doig’s greatest works.

More from Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction

View All
View All