Peter Doig: No Foreign Lands

It’s the appropriate time for a look at internationally renowned artist Peter Doig, who grew up in Canada and returned here briefly before settling his artist studio in Trinidad. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is the only Canadian stop for a critically acclaimed retrospective on Doig’s work. The show ran for three months in the fall at the Scottish National Galleries in Edinburgh, Doig’s birthplace.

Top: Red Boat (Imaginary Boys) / Below: (Detail) Figure Walking by Pool


Called No Foreign Lands (for a Robert Louis Stevenson quotation “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only who is foreign”), the exhibition is a homecoming for Doig, who moved to Quebec in 1966 at age 7 from Trinidad where he had spent his early years.  Doig left for London in 1978 and the itinerant life of a developing artist, then spent three more years in Montreal in the 1980s.

Doig-Cricket-Painting-Paragrand Detail, Cricket Painting (Paragrand)

Evocative and atmospheric, the 54-year-old’s paintings on canvas and linen have made Doig one of the biggest names on the world art scene. Two works from the 1990s sold for $10 million and $12-million last year. It was Doig’s nomination for the prestigious Turner Prize in 1994 that originally set him on the road to fame.  Below: 100 years ago, 2001


A master colourist, Doig’s interpretations of Trinidad since he re-settled in 2002 are the focus of the show. In an interview produced for the exhibition, Doig says he has always been attracted to bright colours, and that Trinidad – with its intense light – gave him licence to use even brighter tones. Below: White Canoe, the Doig painting that first broke records. It sold in 2007 at Sotheby’s for $11.3 million, then an auction record for a living European artist.


An Art Junkie post on canoe art, which includes Doig’s famous Canoe Lake painting, here.

(Note: There are so many web resources on Doig, including online museums and galleries, I will leave it to you to explore on your own via a Google or another search f you’re so inclined)

12 replies »

  1. I’ve been so excited to see this exhibition. I fell in love with Doig’s work when I saw his show at the National Gallery. The grand scale of it always blows me away. But since it’s a long flight from Vancouver, I’m waiting until spring in Montréal. Thanks for your enthusiastic review!


  2. Thanks for the link to my blog, I really enjoyed finding yours via twitter…I think it was ELAN that retweeted it. Love your whole blog and will be discovering it for a while. The Doig exhibition is truly exceptional and has renewed my hope/faith for life and paint! Absolutely sublime paintings. Brings to mind a quote I saw earlier this evening by the late Robert Hughes, “What we need more of is slow art. Art that holds time as a vase holds water. Art that grows out of modes of perception and making, whose skill and doggedness make you think and feel…that hooks into something deep running in our natures.”


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