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How a bizarre court case turned upside down the life of Caribbean-based artist Peter Doig

Doig
Artist Peter Doig in his London studio Credit: Rex/Shutterstock

Two years ago, at Christie’s in New York, a painting by the British artist Peter Doig, featuring a ghostly canoe in a lagoon, sold for an astonishing amount of money: nearly $26 million (£16.6 million).

“It was crazy,” says Doig, who didn’t receive a penny from the auction, speaking to me by phone from his home in Trinidad. “I remember painting Swamped when I was a mature student at Chelsea College of Art [and Design]. It was there in my degree show, and no one wanted to buy it.”

How, then, does he account for its value today? “I can’t really say. I just know how hard it is to make a decent painting. Over the years, it hasn’t become any easier.”

Warm, thoughtful and down-to-earth, Doig, who recently became a father for the sixth time, is now 57. Although he rents an apartment in New York, he spends most of his time living in a farming community in the hills above Port of Spain with the mother...

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