Sarah Thornton limns the market for Peter Doig paintings in the Economist. Doig has become a bellwether of the market’s health and the enduring appeal of several painters many had assumed would disappear once the credit bubble burst:
The market for the atmospheric paintings of Peter Doig remains deep. At Sotheby’s, “Almost Grown”—the catalogue’s cover lot, consigned by Ben Brown, a British dealer, and his wife Louisa Guinness—met with multiple bidders, earning more than £2m. At Christie’s, “Night Playground” (pictured above), consigned by New Yorkers Joel and Sherry Mallin, realised £3m, the second-highest price for the artist at auction.
The Doig market saw one spectacular spike when “White Canoe” sold for £5.7m in February 2007. It was not only a record for the artist but, at the time, the highest price ever paid for the work of a living European artist at auction. Charles Saatchi, an uber-speculator had sold it to Sotheby’s as part of a package of six Doigs. In general, however, there is not enough volume in the Doig market to entice bulk-buying speculation. The artist is not prolific and Victoria Miro Gallery has placed the paintings carefully, with many going straight into museums (in fact, many thought that “Almost Grown” was a promised gift to the Irish Museum of Modern Art). Moreover, as Ms Westphal sees it, “Doig is an emotional purchase. They are beautiful paintings that collectors want to live with, so they rarely return to the market.”
Happy Days for Some (Economist.com)