A global archive of independent reviews of everything happening from the beginning of the millennium

Read our Copyright Notice click here

For publication dates click here



The artist creates with his own emotions. The public comes with its own.

Peter Doig is an enigma. One who learnt to be fashionable fast.

In the mid-eighties I was briefly an art critic alongside other things.

I particularly liked going to one gallery in Cork Street.

In this time he had two shows there.

At the first show I did not like his work. The emotions within were sombre and did not access mine. Liking was not, however, a block to recognizing that he could become an important artist.

I had resolved not to buy art in parallel.

At the second show I stopped short at one painting. I really should buy that. I can afford it.

It was more abstract, lighter and lighter in tone. I should have asked to see the artist.

Then I made the excuses: I do not have the floor to ceiling height to properly hang it; it would cost me over a month's pay.

When recently I heard that some of his canvasses sold for tens of millions, I was not unpleased for an artist I had never met.

When the Courtauld show came on the radar I had to go.

At the show itself the fact that virtually all the paintings were, it appears, completed from 2019 to 2023 rang a discordant bell. It would be what a commercial gallery would present and there were relatively few paintings. Like a musician singing live only from the latest album when quality or audience favourites suggest another line; is he doing that under outside influence?

However, the artist has at times been off the radar and has recently relocated to Britain so this view of his work may be what he wants to push. I am all for what the artist wants; commercial chaff degrades artistic integrity.

I think I have imperfect images of all of them below.

The paintings are more representational than in the eighties if in partly imagined spaces, larger, better executed, mainly on linen and employing a tropical colour palate.

The emotions are still the enigma. There are plenty of them from the artist but watching the other viewers go round the exhibition a little bemused as to what to make of the paintings he is still not accessing theirs early. (They are large paintings and a screen delivers small images which may make it easier to relate to them.)

Yes, I like them.

House of Music (Soca Boat)

Music Shop

a London scene with the artist's son

Alice at Boscoe's (the artist's daughter)

Music 2 Trees - (with the artist's wife)

detail from Self Portrait (Fernandez Compound)

Painting on the Island Carrera (the hair is three dimensional)

The Alpinist

Night Studio (Studiofilm and Racquet Club) - this painting is from 2015 and different in kind

exhibition wall text