PETER DOIG (B. 1959)
PETER DOIG (B. 1959)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF DEREK WALCOTT, TRINIDAD
PETER DOIG (B. 1959)

Star Apple Stag & Philip Guston

PETER DOIG (B. 1959)
Star Apple Stag & Philip Guston
signed, titled, inscribed, dedicated and dated ‘Dear Derek Happy BIRTHDAY! 85 in 2015 STAR APPLE STAG and Philip Guston... FROM Peter Peter Doig 2015’ (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
13 3⁄4 x 18in. (35 x 45.7cm.)
Painted in 2015
Derek Walcott Collection, Trinidad (a gift from the artist).
Thence by descent to the present owner.
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. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Sale room notice
Please note that the dimensions for this lot are 13 3⁄4 x 18in. (35 x 45.7cm.) and not as printed in the catalogue.

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Lot Essay

Peter Doig’s Star Apple Stag & Philip Guston is a vivid testament to the close relationship between the artist and the poet Derek Walcott. The work was painted in 2015, one year before the publication of Morning, Paramin, which paired Walcott’s poetry and Doig’s paintings; their collaboration is conjured in the convivial atmosphere of the present workThe intimate canvas presents a closely cropped view of a jar of Marmite and the titular bottle of Stag, a Trinidadian beer sold throughout the Caribbean and a recurrent motif for the artist. Doig would riff upon the word in the titles of various paintings completed following his return to the island, including Stag (2002-2005), Pelican (Stag) (2003) and Metropolitain (Stag) (2002-2004); the image itself recurs in an untitled work of 2008 which was reproduced in Morning, Paramin. In the background of the present work, Doig has painted a black and white waterfall, an image taken from the cover of Walcott’s poetry collection The Star-Apple Kingdom. Against this monochromatic cascade, the bottles’ colourful labels glow brightly.

Doig painted and dedicated the present work to Walcott on the occasion of the poet’s 85th birthday. While both men have called Trinidad their home, their lives there did not overlap. Born in St. Lucia, Walcott moved to Trinidad after graduating from university in 1953, and lived between there and the United States over the following decades. Doig, who had spent part of his childhood in Trinidad, moved there permanently from England in 2002, by which time Walcott had returned to live in St. Lucia. Fortuitously, Doig’s children had become friends with Walcott’s grandchildren, and the two men met one afternoon at the home of the poet’s daughter. A book collaboration was soon in the works, and that winter, Walcott joined Doig at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art to view an exhibition of the artist’s paintings. ‘I had only spent one and a half hours with him,’ Doig recalled. ‘But now I was looking at my paintings through his head and eyes. It was a very frank way to view one’s own work. The paintings that were not of interest to him were greeted with “Next!” But some paintings provoked a lot: memories of his experiences in Trinidad … His way of looking at paintings was very much about looking for narrative—but not necessarily the narrative the painter may have put there’ (P. Doig, quoted in J. Jelly-Schapiro, ‘A Trinidadian Friendship: Derek Walcott and Peter Doig’, The New Yorker, 12 January 2017).

Throughout his career, Doig has consistently looked to the influence of his forebears, amalgamating various legacies into his own distinct painterly language. Walcott himself was fond of identifying the artists alluded to in Doig’s paintings, citing ‘Daumier, Cézanne, Philip Guston, De Chirico, Picasso’ among others; perhaps it was Walcott’s ‘early training as a painter [that] gave him a particularly sharp eye’ (A. Landi, ‘Derek Walcott and Peter Doig’s Double-Barreled Magic’, The Wall Street Journal, 9 December 2016). Indeed, working between physical fragments and his own mental archive, Doig draws upon his own history to engage with broader questions of place and identity. His practice, suggests Hilke Wagner, ‘may be understood not only as a mirror of his own transnational biography, but also as a reflection of the hybrid social structure and history of the Caribbean island of Trinidad as well’, themes which Walcott’s poetry too touched upon (H. Wagner, ‘The Fortunate Traveller’, in Peter Doig: Metropolitain, exh. cat. Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich 2004, p. 86). Indeed, hybridity is key to Star Apple Stag & Philip Guston, in which British Marmite and Trinidadian beer sit side by side within a Caribbean scape. Here is a balmy world in which conversation is languid and dreamy, where the nights are redolent with the aromas of tropical heat and waterfalls, and where poetry and painting slip in and out of one another’s realms.

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