A dutiful profile of Peter Doig in the New York Times on the occasion of his first show in his native Scotland dredges up this story that we admit slipped through our net when it first came out in May. Now that Peter Doig is a famous contemporary artist with a very strong record of sales, two Canadian brothers have come forward with a work they claim one bought from a Peter Doige when he was incarcerated as a juvenile on a drug offense.
The Fletcher brothers want Doig to authenticate the work and they’ve enlisted Chicago art dealer Peter Bartlow in the cause, according to the Chicago Reader:
Bartlow, who’s had the painting in Chicago since last fall and would receive a commission on its sale, says there are a number of reasons to believe it was done by the now-famous Peter Doig. Recent photos and videos of the artist, available online, look to Bob Fletcher like the man he knew in Thunder Bay, “only older.” Doig has admitted in interviews that he used LSD as a teenager and that it influenced his work, and in Bartlow’s view has been “vague” about his whereabouts between 1976, when he apparently dropped out of high school and left home, and 1979, when he enrolled in art school in London, faking his academic record to get in. What he has said about those years is that he was a roustabout, drilling for gas on Canada’s western plains.
And Bartlow sees plenty of evidence in the work itself. He points to both its subject matter (especially the pond in the foreground) and its layered horizontal composition, which he says is echoed in many works by Doig. Just when you might be thinking that landscapes tend to be composed this way—water in the foreground, sky above, and earthly forms like boulders and plants in the midrange—Bartlow brings up a little video that he’s made in which he turns a transparent version of the desert scene upside down over another Doig painting, Grand Riviere.
Is This Painting An Early Work By Celebrated Artist Peter Doig? (Chicago Reader)