Peter Doig, Road House, 1991
Peter Doig (b.1959) is a renowned Scottish painter who now lives in Trinidad. Doig is best known for his landscapes and for his paintings of architecture by Le Corbusier. Road House is like much of Doig's work in that it is clearly figurative, but employs some measure of abstraction. This piece employs a three-tiered stratification; the house sits in the middle register with the upper representing sky and the lower showing the earth below, like a geological cross section. The piece prompts a consideration of our ecological place in the world, and of our social stratification. The tranquility of the scene combines with the unusual, intense coloration to create a somewhat uneasy calm and a slightly dismal tone. This particular house stands small against the nature surrounding it. It is pressed on by the outer registers, blocked by a tree, and dwarfed by a forest to the right. Considering these themes, it is worth noting that this painting sold at Christie's this past May for $11.9 million.