The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced the acquisition of a monumental landscape painting by Peter Doig’s, Two Trees (2017), a gift from George Economou in celebration of The Met’s upcoming 150th anniversary, in 2020.
Doig’s large-scale landscape Two Trees is set against a backdrop replete with layers of allusions to old master painting.
The two trees in the frame depict a real view from the artist’s hillside home on Trinidad, the Caribbean island where he spent his childhood and to which he returned to live in the early 2000s.
Doig has spoken about how his view east across the sea towards Africa also reminds him of the journey that so many of the islanders’ forebears were forced to endure in the brutal Middle Passage across the Atlantic.
Trinidad’s rich Creole traditions are also deeply informed by that forced migration.
Even as Doig’s three figures carry with them a sense of menace, they seem to mirror that cultural hybridity as well as the artist’s own immigrant position.
Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art, commented, “Peter Doig is one of the most important figurative painters of our time. Two Trees is a masterpiece, as well as a watershed work in the artist’s oeuvre.
It poses provocative questions about modern life, even as it sits within a lineage of peers such as Goya or Munch, who also touched on the rawness of contemporary life with distinctive painterly invention and strange beauty. We are very thankful to George Economou for his outstanding generosity and to Peter himself for his passion and support.”
Image: Peter Doig (British, born 1959), Two Trees, 2017. Oil on linen,94 1/2 in. × 11 ft. 7 3/4 in. (240 × 355 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of George Economou, in celebration of the Museum’s 150th Anniversary, 2018 © Peter Doig / 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York