Best known for melancholy and dreamlike renditions of bucolic landscapes, Scottish artist Peter Doig has become one of the most internationally-celebrated painters of his generation. The distinction is all the more striking for a modern artist given such ordinary-seeming subjects and his chosen medium—painterly figurative work initially put him on the global stage in the ’90s.
In a new slipcased monograph of the Turner Prize-winner’s work, publisher Rizzoli offers the most up-to-date and comprehensive collection of paintings and illustrations spanning Doig’s career. The 400 pages include found photographs of unidentified figures and settings that have informed his oeuvre as much as his own surroundings. Though he’s lived in Trinidad since moving there as a child with his family, that environment and other source material serves as starting point for paintings that have more to do with memory and subjectivity than true-to-life depictions.
Snowy, tree-filled scenes—sometimes dotted with a lone figure—account for much of the artist’s subject matter. But blurry cabins and solitary, water-drifting canoes (including Doig’s record-breaking “White Canoe,” which sold at auction for $11.3 million in 2007) also feature prominently among the book’s 350 images, each one eerie and hypnotic in its own way.
With the exception of supplemental essays by art critic Richard Shiff and Catherine Lampert, an art writer and curator, the book’s layout is a clean one, comprising just one illustration per page. The design lends a powerful effect to the overall collection, allowing viewers to get lost in one painting at a time.