Stroke of genius: Peter Doig’s eerie art whisks the mind to enchanted places

Amid the impostures that sometimes pass for 21st-century art, Doig’s record-breaking compositions are jewels of imagination and haunting vision.

It must be the most expensive canoe in history. This week in Manhattan a painting by Edinburgh-born Peter Doig of a small white boat lost in a tangle of weeds and tree stumps in some remote wilderness went under the hammer for $26m (£16.6m) in a sale that puts him unquestionably in the top financial echelon of living artists. It is the latest chapter in the most unlikely and heartwarming success story in 21st-century art.

Doig is the painter of the global age, a traveller without a destination, between cultures, between jobs, looking for paradise and finding a prison on the horizon. His art portrays the dreams we share, the freedoms we crave, on the beach with a can of Trinidad’s favourite beer, Stag, as another sun goes down. Out on the silent water is an acid casualty in a canoe. Long may the art market fund his ghostly voyage.

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