Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction


Peter Doig
B. 1959
signed, titled, inscribed Port of Spain and dated ’03 on the reverse
oil on canvas
58 by 43cm.; 22 3/4 by 16 7/8 in.
Lire le rapport d'état Lire le rapport d'état


Marc Jancou Fine Art, New York
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner in 2004


Munich, Pinakothek der Moderne; Hanover, Kestnergesellschaft, Peter Doig, Metropolitain, 2004, n.p., no. 12, illustrated in colour


Nikki Columbus, Ed., Peter Doig, New York 2011, p. 179, illustrated in colour
Exhibition Catalogue, Edinburgh, Scottish National Gallery; Montreal, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Peter Doig: No Foreign Lands, 2013-14, p. 76, illustrated in colour


In 2002 Peter Doig left London and moved to Trinidad, where he had spent part of his childhood and where he was later invited to take up a residency in 2000. His return to the island awakened memories from his previous experiences there, which in turn made their way into canvases and sketches, some of which can be counted amongst the best in the artist’s career. These new works incorporated imagery from Doig’s own finished canvases, old photographs and archival material, combining a mixture of landscapes, old and new settings which he then covered in washes of bold and rich colours. A selection of these works, the present lot amongst them, was exhibited at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich in 2004, a show that marked the artist’s rise to the forefront of internationally recognised contemporary painting. Inspired in a 19th century work by Honoré Daumier titled The Print Collector (circa 1863-65), Cold Blooded from 2003 belongs to the series of works that gave title to the Munich show, Metropolitain. The Metropolitain series, titled after a life sized work that belongs to the collection of the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, evinces the contrast between the images sourced from old and new worlds, a palimpsest of references that populate the artist’s oeuvre and that have become his trademark.

Clad in a worn coat, the lanky figure of the archetypal 19th century bohemian artist looks into a brightly coloured canvas that seems to float before him. Doig chose to give the figure a pale complexion, colouring his cheeks and nose in bright pink, a nod at Trinidadian popular culture, where a traditional figure in the island’s Carnival is that of a European who is mocked for getting easily sunburnt. Both figure and canvas stand out against a delicately coloured background depicting towering mountains of lush vegetation crowned by the outlines of palm trees.

In the years previous to his final move to Trinidad, Doig worked on House of Pictures (2000-02) which depicts a lonely figure that stares into the window display of a shop. Finished in the island, the composition reminded Doig of Daumier’s The Print Collector, which he had seen at The Art Institute of Chicago and that he describes as “a great painting of someone looking at paintings” (Peter Doig quoted in: Catherine Lampert, ‘Peter Doig: Dreams and the Light Imaginings of Man’, Peter Doig, New York 2011, p. 358). Inspired by this canvas Doig embarked on a new series of works, borrowing from the French caricaturist the lone figure with the top hat. Such is the recognition that the artist’s works from the Metropolitain series have attained, that in a recent exhibition of Daumier’s work at the Royal Academy in London Doig was invited to write about the painting that had inspired him. The artist explained how “although the title of the painting tells us that the man in the dark hat is a collector looking at prints in a gallery, I want to think of him as an artist. I feel his demeanour and clothing suggest that here is an artist looking at works-in-progress in a studio” (Peter Doig in: Exhibition Catalogue, London, Royal Academy of Arts, Daumier(1908 – 1979): Visions of Paris,  2013-14, p. 130).

Characteristically, this particular composition was also inspired by a scene in a movie; Fritz Lang’s 1944 film noir The Woman in the Window. Indeed, the bohemian flâneur in Cold Blooded stands in the same position as the film’s professor Richard Wanley when he discovers the portrait of the femme fatale Alice Reed, which is displayed in a shop window. That one of the sources of inspiration for this series of works is a movie is no coincidence, as Doig is a well-known cinephile; a year after his arrival in Trinidad he and fellow artist Che Lovelace set up StudioFilmclub, a weekly screening that takes place in Doig’s studio. In yet another take on the artist’s endless library of citations, the title of the present work is the same as a 1995 thriller by Wallace Wolodarsky.

Doig’s ease and absolute mastery of the art of blending seemingly disparate citations in his canvases dates from his student years, and he particularly recalls how when as a student at St Martin’s College of Art during the 1980s “all the new trends in art making, picture generation; Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, all these artists surrounding that group were brought very much to our attention” (Peter Doig in conversation with Gavin Lockheart, Turps Banana: Painting Magazine, Issue Nine, Winter 2010, n.p.). In Cold Blooded, as well as in the rest of the works in the Metropolitain series this influence is indeed quite palpable.

In Cold Blooded Peter Doig has done what he does best. The soft washes of paint, the unconventional setting for our artist-collector and his slightly otherworldly appearance imbue the work with a cinematic feel. Indeed, Cold Blooded transports the viewer to Peter Doig’s very particular reality, one which never ceases to captivate, and which is unique to the artist’s mastery of the medium of paining.

Contemporary Art Day Auction