Exposition contemporaine

Peter Doig

Reflets du siècle

From October 17th, 2023 to January 21st, 2024
Peter Doig
Two Trees, 2017
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
© Peter Doig. All Rights Reserved, DACS/ ADAGP, Paris 2023 / Mark Woods

Peter Doig. Reflections of the Century

A leading figure in the revival of figurative painting, Peter Doig (born in Edimbourg in 1959) has given the 21st century some of its newest icons. His solitary figures, ethereal landscapes, night scenes and otherworldly lights, reflect century-old modernist questions, while suggesting a new visual language suited for the uniqueness of the contemporary experience.

 For this exhibition, the Musée d’Orsay and Peter Doig have brought together, in one of the museum’s iconic domed rooms, a group of large paintings that were made over the two decades the artist lived in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad. Each work weaves the tradition of painting into new, strange, seemingly impossible composites.

In an adjacent space, Peter Doig has accepted the museum's invitation to curate and comment on a selection of works from the collection. Setting aside usual museum norms of chronology and classification, this selection that only an artist of his stature could imagine, transforms the viewer’s perception on the collection and restores the very essence of our emotional connexion with the works.


A foundational aspect of Doig’s artistic practice has been the way he contemplates the history of painting and the intimate relationships that he has formed with the masters who have preceded him. The Romantic painters, the post-Impressionists, and the proponents of the Colorist movement.

Like his nineteenth and early twentieth century predecessors, Peter Doig draws his inspiration from his everyday life. His subjects come from his immediate world : the view from his studio window, a passerby, scenes from his commute into Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago), his wife, and children. Doig reconstructs these places and moments from memory and snapshots that he has taken with his mobile phone. It is a personal vocation, where the artist grapples with how his real-life encounters live within himself. A melancholic pursuit where he asks how time can transform an occurrence, a situation, a moment, into a thing.

Rooms 57 and 60

At the invitation of the musée d’Orsay the painter Peter Doig presents in rooms 57 and 60, his selection of artworks from the collection. Thus doing, the artist was motivated by humble curiosity and chose to methodologically probe his lifelong interest in painting and to trace the legacies of modernism, both of which are foundational to his artistic practice.

Peter Doig’s work grapples with how real-life occurrences make their imprint on time and transcend their physical manifestations. In this, he continues a tradition developed in the nineteenth century in which artists strayed from a principle of faithful representation in favor of a sensitive interpretation of reality.

As the artist formulated his selection the subject of nature emerged as a focal point : it has always been an emblematic subject for artists. The artist has chosen artworks in which he recognizes a tension between the world’s simultaneous ordinariness and unfamiliarity. He perceives that this tension can be said to fuel some of humanity’s deepest instincts such as fear, love, and violence. each of them motivate humankind to put their imprint on the world, an often-bitter reaction to the ways nature reminds us of its superiority. Humanity retaliates in their small ways to force nature to reckon with their presence. For Doig, this harsh reality is both painful and beautiful.