In yesterday’s Guardian I read about an artist I had never heard of yet his work has just broken records at auction for the work of a living artist.
Peter Doig’s “Swamped” instantly appealed to me in many ways. It captures the spirit of a natural habitat that I love. It is what I think of as a proper painting, well executed by someone who has worked hard at their craft. And to top it all it includes a Canadian canoe, a vessel so iconic and with such meaning that last year I traveled to Northern Wisconsin to build one and will return this year to explore that wilderness by canoe.
What has me excited today though is that Doig’s work sold for $26m. A few years ago I made a prediction in this blog post that the days of the conceptual artists Hirst, Emin et al may be coming to an end and that we may see a return to the recognition of skill in the artworld. Hirst’s best price achieved at auction was $17m in 2007 leaving him way behind Doig.
Writing in the Guardian Jonathan Jones says “For once, the art market has got it right. Amid all the nonsense, impostures, rhetorical bullshit and sheer trash that pass for art in the 21st century, Doig is a jewel of genuine imagination, sincere work and humble creativity. His art will last, and that is what his collectors have cottoned on to. They are making a sound investment in sheer quality.”
Hurrah for that and we still have 2 years to go to the centenary of Duschamp’s fountain, changes that start at the top of the art world will filter down, people will turn away from and seek out “sincere work and humble creativity”