London, 26 January 2017 – coinciding with Burns Night on 25 January 2017, Scottish painter Peter Doig (b. 1959) was the fourth artist to receive the prestigious annual Art Icon award. Surrounded by over 200 artists and art world luminaries, Doig was presented with the award at Whitechapel Gallery by Iwona Blazwick OBE (former Director, Whitechapel Gallery) and Nadja Swarovski (Member of the Swarovski Executive Board) at a spectacular gala dinner. The Whitechapel Gallery’s annual Art Icon event is created in partnership with Swarovski, which has a longstanding commitment to the Gallery and its programme.

Iwona Blazwick said: “This award celebrates the work of an artist who has made a profound contribution to contemporary practice, influencing their own and subsequent generations of artists. Peter Doig was chosen in recognition of his spectacular oeuvre to date and his continuous evolution and invigorated approach to his medium. Doig’s distinctive paintings waver between figuration and abstraction. He presents environments from Canada to Trinidad; these dream-like spaces are fluid and recognisable, equally complex and disorientating. Often working from photographs and films, employing memory and motifs, his landscapes celebrate the aesthetics and potential of painting.”

Nadja Swarovski commented: “We are delighted to continue our support of the Whitechapel Art Icon Award. Peter Doig is a truly visionary talent whose work evokes beautiful and inspiring universes, and his celebration of the natural environment, and the people and animals that inhabit it, is something that speaks to us all. It is a pleasure to honour his contribution to the world of painting with this prize.”

Guests were spellbound by a performance by Michael Clark Company. Clark, a long time friend and collaborator of Doig, choreographed a hypnotic new work especially for the event. Peter Doig and his friend and master potter Stuart Carey also created a small edition of ceramic artworks that were launched exclusively on the evening. Entitled Lion Ting, these elegant, painterly ceramics mark a new exciting creative collaboration for Doig.

Guests included artists Tomma Abts, Hurvin Anderson, Enrico David, Langlands and Bell, Idris Khan and Pheobe Unwin alongside Doig’s supporters and friends including Nicholas Serota (Tate), Nicholas Cullinan (National Portrait Gallery), Yana Peel (Serpentine Gallery), Cheyenne Westphal (Phillips), Gregor Muir (Tate), Luigi Maramotti (Max Mara), David Adjaye (Architect), Jasper Conran (Designer), Gordon VeneKlasen (Michael Werner Gallery), Sadie Coles (Gallerist), Victoria Miro (Gallerist), Maureen Paley (Gallerist), Alex Sainsbury (Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Whitechapel Gallery), Farshid Moussavi (Architect), Maria Sukkar (Art Patron and Collector), Maryam Eisler (Photographer, Editor and Art Patron), Mala Gaonkar (Lone Pine Capital LLC and Tate Trustee), Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo (Art Collector) and Maya Rasamny (Art Collector).

Guests bought tickets for the evening to help raise £211,050 for the Whitechapel Gallery’s Education and Community programmes. An auction led by Henry Highley of Phillips and introduced by Alex Sainsbury featured work donated by leading artists Hernan Bas, Joe Bradley, Cecily Brown, Enrico David, Stephen Gill, Camille Henrot, Annie Morris, Laurence Owen and Jonathan Trayte. This year’s online only auction also featured a selection of unique and special ‘experiences’. Highlights included an exquisite VIP Experience at London Fashion Week 2017 courtesy of Swarovski, a limited edition collaboration between fashion designers Max Mara and Chinese artist Liu Wei, and a personal tour of the 57th Biennale de Venezia.

The evening glowed with Swarovski lanterns, while guests enjoyed a feasting menu that began with an amuse-bouche of haggis, neeps and tatties followed by a starter of scorched arctic char, beets, apple, smoked celeriac and bulls blood leaves; a main course of roast loin of venison, skirlie potato, red cabbage with blueberry game sauce was followed by a Whitechapel Gallery Bake Off – pudding created by Bubble Food.

Notes for Editors

Peter Doig – Peter Doig was born in Edinburgh in 1959 and raised in Trinidad and Canada before moving to London in 1979 to study. He currently lives and works between Trinidad, New York, Dusseldorf and London. Doig has been the subject of a number of major exhibitions worldwide, including a mid-career survey organised by Tate Britain in 2008; an exhibition in 2013 at the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh; a display at Fondation Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland in 2014 and at Louisiana Museum in Humlebæk, Denmark, 2015. Doig served as a Trustee of the Tate from 1995 to 2000, and in 2008 was awarded the Wolfgang Hahn Prize of the Society for Modern Art, Museum Ludwig, Cologne.

Whitechapel Gallery – For over a century the Whitechapel Gallery has premiered world-class artists from modern masters such as Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Frida Kahlo to contemporaries such as Sophie Calle, Lucian Freud, Gilbert & George and Mark Wallinger. With beautiful galleries, exhibitions, artist commissions, collection displays, historic archives, education resources, inspiring art courses, café/bar and bookshop, the Gallery is open all year round, so there is always something free to see. The Gallery is a touchstone for contemporary art internationally, plays a central role in London’s cultural landscape and is pivotal to the continued growth of the world’s most vibrant contemporary art quarter. The Gallery believes that art has the power to transform the lives of children and young people, and pioneered gallery education and community outreach. Working with thousands of children and young people annually, leading artists collaborate with those who have the greatest need for opportunity, and their art is celebrated through exhibitions in galleries 5&6, which are dedicated to education projects.

Past recipients of the Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon are: Sir Howard Hodgkin (2014), Richard Long (2015) and Joan Jonas (2016).

Swarovski delivers a diverse portfolio of unmatched quality, craftsmanship, and creativity. Founded in 1895 in Austria, the company designs, manufactures and markets high-quality crystals, genuine gemstones and created stones as well as finished products such as jewelry, accessories and lighting. Having celebrated its 120th anniversary last year, and now run by the fifth generation of family members, Swarovski Crystal Business has a global reach with approximately 2,680 stores in around 170 countries, more than 26,000 employees, and revenue of about 2.6 billion euros in 2015. Together with its sister companies Swarovski Optik (optical devices) and Tyrolit (abrasives), Swarovski Crystal Business forms the Swarovski Group. In 2015, the Group generated revenue of about 3.37 billion euros and employed more than 30,000 people. A responsible relationship with people and the planet is an integral part of Swarovski’s heritage. The global Swarovski Waterschool education program has reached 257,000 children on the world’s greatest rivers, and the Swarovski Foundation, set up in 2013, works to support culture and creativity, promote wellbeing, and conserve natural resources to achieve positive social impact.

The Swarovski Foundation generously supports the Swarovski Foundation Curator: Youth & Community Programmes post at the Whitechapel Gallery. Open to people aged 15 – 21 the youth programme gives young adults the chance to explore contemporary art, meet creative professionals, and open up career paths into the sector. The programme is formed around collaborative artist-led projects, events and a dedicated peer-led youth forum.

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