1 More
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
PETER DOIG (B. 1959)

Hockey Head

PETER DOIG (B. 1959)
Hockey Head
signed with the artist's initials and dated 'PD 2017' (lower right)
oil on paper
24 x 18in. (60.5 x 45.3cm.)
Executed in 2017
Michael Werner Gallery, London.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2017.
New York, Michael Werner Gallery, Peter Doig, 2017-2018, p. 108, no. 10 (illustrated in colour, p. 40). This exhibition later travelled to London, Michael Werner Gallery.
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

Anna Touzin
Anna Touzin Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Painted in conjunction with the twelve-foot wide masterpiece Two Trees (2017), held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Hockey Head is a striking example of Peter Doig’s otherworldly figures. From veils of glorious green pigment, the silhouette of an ice hockey player emerges, his phantasmal profile commanding the entire picture plane. Growing up in Canada, Doig played for a British ice hockey league for eight years, and remains an avid fan of the sport. For the present work, Doig was inspired by two games he attended at Chelsea Piers, New York in late 2016, one in which the Edmonton Oilers came onto the rink in orange jerseys, and another where a recreational team entered wearing camouflage-patterned tops. Infused with the hallucinatory palette and fluid painterly technique that Doig adopted during his years in Trinidad, Hockey Head captures the artist’s ongoing engagement with the dynamics of memory and displacement.

Recently the subject of an important exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery, London, Doig recently returned to the UK after two decades based in Trinidad. The artist had moved to the island at the turn of the millennium, having previously lived there as a child between the ages of two and seven. While there, he produced some of his most extraordinary paintings, inspired not only by the landscape and people of Trinidad but also by distant memories of other far-away times and places. At the time of Hockey Head, Doig was playing ice hockey three nights a week during trips to London and New York: the work is one of a number of character studies on the theme. In Two Trees, notably, the character on the left is clad in full ice hockey equipment, including a stick, gloves and a bright yellow patterned jersey. The painting, which unites three disparate figures against a dreamlike, tropical backdrop looking towards Africa, is a poignant meditation on themes of migration and dislocation. The hockey player, like a spectre transplanted from another world, seems to invoke the artist’s own itinerant condition.

As in many of Doig’s works, Hockey Head plays with the tension between abstraction and figuration. Blurring the boundaries between what is real, imagined and remembered, the work is shot through with echoes of art history, from the paintings of Munch and Cézanne to the fluid, expressive textures of Abstract Expressionism. At times, the figure almost seems to become a landscape: the short, vertical brushstrokes at the bottom half of the composition recall the screens of trees that had once dominated Doig’s painterly memories of Canada. ‘There is something more primal about painting’, he explains. ‘In terms of my own paintings ... 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’ (P. Doig quoted in K. Scott, Peter Doig, exh. cat. Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver 2001, pp. 15-17). In Hockey Head, Doig brings this approach to bear upon a portrait that is both fictional and deeply personal, its subject caught between worlds.

More from Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale

View All
View All