After a childhood spent in Trinidad and Canada, Doig only returned to Great Britain at the age of twenty in order to study art. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1994, which cemented his public recognition. Themes of magical realism are recurrent through Peter Doig’s paintings, capturing timeless moments of perfect tranquillity. Doig´s dreamlike depictions are often scattered with ghostly human traces in a sensuous palette.
Many of Doig's artworks are depicting landscapes, layered formally and conceptually, somewhat abstract, with a number harking back to the snowy scenes of his childhood lived in Canada. While his works are frequently based on found images (photographs, newspaper clippings, movie scenes, record album covers), they are not painted in a photorealistic. Doig instead uses the photographs simply for reference
“It's as if memories suddenly spring up from the place I have just left and I have to work through them to get to that elsewhere."—Peter Doig
The canoes have become an inspiring image throughout his work; their reflection in the water is a fantasy mirror to the unknown. This inventive style, sensuous palette, and suggestive imagery are also maintained in Peter Doig’s prints through the mastery use of different printmaking techniques. Peter Doig is one of a number of pioneering contemporary figurative artists, and recent major solo exhibitions have been staged at institutional venues, including Fondation Beyeler, Basel; National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montreal; Gallery Met at the Metropolitan Opera, New York; and Tate Britain, London. His auction record on the painting Rosedale, created in 1991 sold for over $28 million at Phillips New York in May 2017.
Art critic Jonathan Jones said about Doig: "Amid all the nonsense, impostors, rhetorical bullshit and sheer trash that pass for art in the 21st century, Doig is a jewel of genuine imagination, sincere work and humble creativity."