Third Time’s a Charm? A Prized Peter Doig Painting Is Returning to the Auction Block This Fall, and Could Break the Artist’s Record

The painting previously sold at auction in 2015 and 2002.

Peter Doig, Swamped (1990). Image courtesy Christie's.
Peter Doig, Swamped (1990). Image courtesy Christie's.

With fall auction season just over a month away, the art world can expect a stream of trophy consignment announcements in the coming weeks. This morning, Christie’s unveiled what is sure to be a record breaker in the contemporary art realm: a Peter Doig painting that is making its third appearance on the auction block, after being sold most recently in 2015, and before that in 2002.

Swamped (1990) is a classic example of the artist’s fusion of figuration and abstraction. It hails from the artist’s celebrated “Canoe” series, which typically depict a lone figure on a boat against a wildly colorful background.

“It’s such a well recognized image. It’s as iconic as it gets for Doig and his prime years,” Christie’s senior specialist for 21st-century art, Ana Maria Celis, told Artnet News.

When it was last at auction, at Christie’s New York in 2015, Swamped sold for just under $26 million, which set the record for the artist at the time. (In the 2002 sale, the work sold at Sotheby’s London for just $455,444.)

Doig’s record was broken again in 2017, when another landscape painting, Rosedale (1991), sold for $28.8 million at Phillips New York, which remains the current auction high. The next offering of Swamped, which is guaranteed and has an unpublished estimate in excess of $35 million, could break that yet again.

Peter Doig’s Rosedale (1991) at the Phillips salesroom. Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images.

Celis notes that Doig’s market become much more international as interest has broadened out from initially the U.K. and U.S. to Latin American and Asian collectors. The artist’s masterful painting style and palette also fits well with the current trend for bright, figurative painting.

“The market for Doig has remained strong,” said Celis, “and there isn’t much work out there at all—he doesn’t produce much. I think there will be great appetite for it, especially with such an increased interest in buying these very bright painterly sort of figurative works. Doig kind of stands between figuration and abstraction, he’s kind of Richter-esque in that way.”

To date, more than 65 works by the artist have sold for over $1 million each, according to the Artnet Price Database.

The painting will be exhibited in Christie’s London between October 9 and 16, and at Christie’s Los Angeles between October 20 and 23 before returning to New York where it will be displayed ahead of the November evening sale.


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