Painting on an Island (Carrera)


Oil on linen

149.5 × 109.5 cm (58 7/8 × 43 1/8 in.)

In a nocturnal landscape lit by a huge moonrise, set against a maritime horizon, a man—seated in profile—paints a canvas whose surface, covered in black, is turned towards the viewer. Absorbed in his task, he seems marked by a certain melancholy, his face pale in the moonlight. Like a reminder of Arnold Böcklin's Island of the Dead (1880–86), the rocky island on the horizon and the stone wall in the picture's background recall the prison island of Carrera, located off the coast of Trinidad, where the artist grew up and where he lives.

The works of Peter Doig (born 17 April 1959 in Edinburgh) most often depict figures within landscapes—often motifs from Trinidad or Canada where Doig grew up. They also draw on an iconography of personal or found documents: newspaper clippings or pop culture imagery such as album covers and movie posters. Between memories, dreams, and associations, these paintings are “worlds unto themselves, an apotheosis of presence, of being there,” which continue to exert a deep magnetism long after their discovery. His paintings are like inner visions which leave the visitor with an ambiguous feeling.

This painting is presented for the first time by the Pinault Collection in the exhibition "Ouverture" at the Bourse de Commerce in 2021.