As the market gears up for major sales next month, Christie’s has unveiled a consignment that could break a record for one of the biggest names in contemporary art, Peter Doig.
Doig’s painting Swamped (1990), an example of the British artist’s merging of the abstract and figurative, features a single white boat floating amid pond weeds and tree stumps. Secured with a guarantee, it will hit the block in November during Christie’s contemporary art evening sale, where it is expected to fetch a price in excess of $35 million.
“Swamped brilliantly showcases Peter Doig’s singular and unique ability to manipulate the materiality of oil paint,” Ana Maria Celis, Christie’s senior specialist for 21st-century art, said in a statement.
The work is from his lauded “Canoe” series (1997–99), which features a lone boat against a semi-abstract background. Doig repurposed the eerie image from the ending of the 1980 horror film Friday the 13th. Swamped is one of Doig’s earliest paintings in the series.
The sale will mark the painting’s third appearance on the auction block. In May 2015, an anonymous European collector sold Swamped for $26 million at Christie’s in New York, setting a record for the artist. In 2002, just before Doig’s market took off, it sold during a Sotheby’s London sale for just $455,400.
Doig’s current auction record was set in 2017, when his landscape painting Rosedale (1991) sold for $28.8 million at Phillips New York.
If Swamped reaches its estimate, Doig will place among the top-selling living artists. Jeff Koons, whose Rabbit (1986) sold for $91.1 million at Christie’s in 2019, is the most expensive living artist, followed by David Hockney.
Swamped will be on view to the public at Christie’s London headquarters from October 9–16, and will travel to next to the auction house’s Los Angeles outpost at the end of the month before its sale in New York this November.
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