Painting of DVP rainbow fetches more than $15M
'Country-rock (wing-mirror)' is a depiction of a colourful arch painted over a culvert, seen from the window of a car driving along a highway in Toronto. (Sotheby's)
Jesse Tahirali, CTVNews.ca
Published Monday, June 30, 2014 7:24PM EDT
A painting of a rainbow familiar to Toronto commuters fetched more than $15 million at auction Monday, a record for Scottish-born artist Peter Doig.
“Country-rock (wing-mirror)” is a depiction of a colourful arch painted over a culvert, seen from the window of a car driving along a yellow highway.
The work, done with oil on canvas, is based on an actual rainbow painted over a tunnel just off the Don Valley Parkway.
Doig, 55, spent most of his early years in Canada. His two-metre-tall work was completed in 1999 and sold off by Sotheby’s auction house in London on Monday.
The sale eclipsed the previous record for a Doig work by about $2 million, though it did fall short of expectations that the painting would sell for more than $16 million.
The final price tag was $8,482,500 British pounds, or $15.46 million.
The rainbow arch itself was painted Norwegian Berg Johnson in 1972 to honour of a friend who had died. Johnson, who was 16 at the time, told media he wanted to make people smile.
The arch has been painted over numerous times in the past four decades, and was most recently restored as part of a $20,000 project to turn the tunnel into public art.
Doig’s “Country-rock (wing-mirror)” is one of three paintings of the arch in his collection, but the only one to show a piece of a car’s side-view mirror. Sotheby’s describes the piece as one of Doig’s most recognizable works.
“Replete with mystery and intrigue, this painting is definitive of the artist’s cinematic visual code,” the catalogue note reads. “A melding of memory with imagination, landscape with dreamscape, timelessness with the inescapably present.”