Scottish painter Peter Doig named the 2017 Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon

A painting of a man under an umbrella walking beside a wall
Lapeyrouse Wall, 2004. Courtesy the artist and Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London
(Image credit: TBC)

The Scottish artist Peter Doig, whose disorientating figurative works have garnered global artistic acclaim, has become the fourth recipient of the Whitechapel Gallery's Art Icon award. Supported by Swarovski, the lifetime achievement award recognises an artist's notable contribution to their chosen medium. Recipients include painter and printmaker Howard Hodgkin (2014), land artist Richard Long (2015) and video art pioneer Joan Jonas (2016).

A committee of internationally prominent figures – including Max Mara's Luigi Maramotti, art consultancy Nine AM founder Bettina von Hase and Swarovski executive board member Nadja Swarovski – made the decision to honour Doig, who Swarovski describes as a 'truly visionary talent'.

A painting depicting a man wearing a loin cloth in a rainforest with a waterfall

'Pelican (Stag)', by Peter Doig, 2003. Courtesy of the artist and Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London

(Image credit: TBC)

Praising the artist, Swarovski picks up on his work's 'celebration of the natural environment', which she describes as 'something that speaks to us all'. Indeed, Doig's humbly rendered landscapes, which are influenced by formative years spent in Canada and Trinidad, depict an artist who has a deep appreciation of and respect for nature's beauty – something, it seems, that's increasingly important to memorialise.

Co-hosted by Nadja Swarovski and Whitechapel Gallery director Iwona Blazwick, a luxurious gala dinner and award ceremony held at the gallery ensured that affairs were conducted in appropriately high style. The event also saw a charity auction led by Henry Highley of Phillips, in which an impressive catalogue of works donated by leading contemporary artists (including Cecily Brown and Enrico David) went under the gavel. All funds raised will go towards the Whitechapel Gallery’s outreach programmes, in particular its work with thousands of children and young people each year.

A painting of a white, concrete residential building through dense woodland

Concrete Cabin II, 1992

(Image credit: TBC)

Painting of the milky way above trees, and reflected in a body of water

Milky Way, 1989–1990

(Image credit: TBC)


For more information, visit the Whitechapel Gallery website and the Swarovski website

Elly Parsons is the Digital Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees and its social platforms. She has been with the brand since 2015 in various roles, spending time as digital writer – specialising in art, technology and contemporary culture – and as deputy digital editor. She was shortlisted for a PPA Award in 2017, has written extensively for many publications, and has contributed to three books. She is a guest lecturer in digital journalism at Goldsmiths University, London, where she also holds a masters degree in creative writing. Now, her main areas of expertise include content strategy, audience engagement, and social media.