Peter Doig (b. 1959)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF TIPHAINE DE LUSSY AND DINOS CHAPMAN
Peter Doig (b. 1959)

Metropolitain (Stag)

Details
Peter Doig (b. 1959)
Metropolitain (Stag)
inscribed 'METROPOLITAN' (upper right); signed and titled 'Peter Doig METROPOLTAN [sic]' (on the reverse); signed, titled, inscribed and dated 'P. DOIG, P.O.S. 2002-2004 STAG DRUNKARD ARTIST' (on the overlap)
oil on canvas
23 x 17in. (58.5 x 43cm.)
Painted in 2002-2004
Provenance
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner.
Literature
N. Columbus (ed.), Peter Doig, New York 2011, p. 112 (illustrated in colour, p. 113).
Exhibited
Munich, Pinakothek der Moderne, Peter Doig – Metropolitain, 2004, p. 91, no. 49 (illustrated in colour, p. 75). This exhibition later travelled to Hannover, Kestnergesellschaft.
Mönchengladbach, Museum Abteiberg, Rheingold III Akademie: Peter Doig, Jörg Immendorff, Albert Oehlen, Jonathan Meese, Daniel Richter, 2004-2005, p. 94 (illustrated in colour, p. 64; installation view illustrated in colour, p. 52).
Edinburgh, Scottish National Gallery, Peter Doig: No Foreign Lands, 2013-2014, p. 215 (illustrated in colour, p. 200). This exhibition later travelled to Montreal, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
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

Katharine Arnold
Katharine Arnold

Lot Essay

‘[He] is a local “character.” But local to what locality? He is part Parisian clochard – a classic sign for the Métropolitain or Métro de Paris stands behind him – and part consumer of Trinidad beer, which is the “Stag” of the title, a brand identified with a specific Caribbean region. Doig has converted the man’s broad-brimmed hat to a nimbus-like aura that contradicts his debasement, a vague reference to saintly types in analogous vertical compositions (Saint Sebastian minus the arrows)’ —R. SHIFF

‘I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. Either me or this tree go fall, or both o’we. Is not a tree but a lamppost anyway. I find myself in a circle of stones in a post-colonial epoch; my hat is a flag, invisible armies sway to my breath’s behest. “Where you are is important,” people say. The streets say Paris, so let it be that: Paris. Drunk is drunk anywhere. But to be drunk with an accent, c’est meilleur. All French creation is sponsored by cognac, absinthe and l’apéritif. I’m re-reading Renan. Do you know Baudelaire’s advice, “If you are drunk, stay drunk”?- especially on Stag, the loveliest of beers. I sing what Spoiler sang, “I feel to fall”' —D. WALCOTT ON PETER DOIG’S STAG, 2016

‘… we see a lone man standing amid the foliage – the vertical version of the man in 100 Years – his head surrounded by light, not unlike traditional paintings of Jesus’ —H. ALS


In Peter Doig’s Metropolitain (Stag), a strange, dreamlike apparition confronts the viewer. Bathed in otherworldly darkness, a lone figure – half man, half beast – clings to a tree, slumped in intoxicated stupor. Executed in 2002-2004, in conjunction with its companion Stag, it takes its place within the early body of work that Doig produced following his relocation to Trinidad in the early 2000s: an island where he had spent part of his childhood. Like the iconic bearded figure who haunted the artist’s canoe paintings during this period, the work’s protagonist represents a fusion of disparate times and places: a wandering spectre cut and spliced from distant worlds. Inscribed ‘drunkard artist’ on the reverse, the work is based on a 1980s French postcard that Doig received from his friend David Tidball, depicting a staggering inebriate outside a Parisian métro station. Filtered through the shimmering Trinidadian heat, the image undergoes a hallucinogenic transformation: the shady boulevard becomes a foreboding jungle, veiled by a dense tropical canopy. The man’s hat becomes a gleaming halo, momentarily recasting him as a saintly icon. The work’s subtitle ‘stag’ – a Trinidadian brand of lager – is comically reinforced by the antlers protruding from the figure’s head. Yet in the cavernous gloom, other resonances abound: the ‘metropolitain’ sign, reproduced from the original postcard, glimmers in the distance like a mystic portal. As we gaze at its distinctive art nouveau lettering, we are suddenly transported to the bustling metropolis of fin-de-siècle Paris. Like the drunken reveller, we begin to lose our bearings as the world before dissolves into a blur of hazy colour and mottled texture. Like the artist, too – reunited with a land deeply embedded in his memory – we are cast adrift in a world both foreign and deeply familiar. With a study held in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the work featured in Doig’s solo show at the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich in 2004, as well as his acclaimed touring exhibition No Foreign Lands at the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh in 2013.

The work’s title – Metropolitain – became something of a leitmotif for Doig during his early years in Trinidad. As well as forming the title of his 2004 exhibition, it also gave its name to the contemporaneous work Metropolitain (House of Pictures), now held in the permanent collection of the Pinakothek der Moderne. In this painting, the word’s Parisian allusions are amplified by Doig’s appropriation of Honoré Daumier’s The Print Collector (1857-63), which the artist had encountered on a trip to The Art Institute of Chicago. Doig’s subsequent variation on this theme – entitled House of Pictures (Carrera) – alludes to a similar art-historical moment, featuring a broken bottle that has been variously likened to Édouard Manet’s The Absinthe Drinker (1859). The fact that Doig’s bottle bears the ubiquitous ‘stag’ label seems to complete the chain of reference, cementing the conflation of contemporary Trinidad and nineteenth-century France that binds these works together. Writing in 2007, Catherine Grenier described how ‘the most singular characteristic of [Doig’s] recent work is its almost constant referencing of images from the beginnings of modernity … the artist has moved so far away only in order to approach his subject more closely. By revisiting the sources of modern culture from a different context, he cuts across the chance events of history and revisits the genesis of modernity as an outsider – as a “contemporary” we might even say. The journey undertaken by the artist is not a journey through the world, but beyond time. The continent that he travels is the continent of art. The countries that he visits are the primal territories of modern times: Romanticism, Realism and Symbolism’ (C. Grenier, ‘Reconquering the World: 100 Years Ago’, in A. Searle et al (eds.), Peter Doig, London 2007, p. 112).

Having spent his youth between Trinidad, Canada and London before returning permanently to the Caribbean, the notion of displacement is central to Doig’s oeuvre. By fusing disparate source material with images drawn from his own mental archive, his paintings seek to dramatize the mechanics of memory and déjà-vu. In Doig’s Metropolitain works, his hybrid characters assume something of an autobiographical quality, expressive of his own condition as an itinerant caught between worlds. Indeed, according to Catherine Lampert, the present work depicts ‘a reveller, lost and out of his depth – like someone, Doig intimated to me, who leaves his native country’ (C. Lampert, ‘Peter Doig: Dreams and the Light Imaginings of Men’, in N. Columbus (ed.), Peter Doig, New York 2011, p. 358). Elsewhere, Hilke Wagner has suggested that ‘Doig’s works 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 … Colonial situations and processes of migration, as well as reciprocal relationships between the colonized and the colonizing, did not allow any of the parties involved to rest assured of their cultural authenticity’ (H. Wagner, ‘The Fortunate Traveller’, in Peter Doig: Metropolitain, exh. cat., Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, 2004, p. 86). Ultimately, however – as the designation on the reverse of the present work makes plain – Doig’s disorientated vagrant may be seen to embody the lot of the artist at large. Born of jumbled cultural references – sacred and profane, archaic and contemporary – he is the time traveller described by Grenier, perpetually out of joint with an ever-shifting, permanently unstable reality.

More from Post War & Contemporary Art Evening Auction

View All
View All