One thing I appreciate about the painter Peter Doig is his unapologetic referencing of artists or situations that influence his work. Many fear it or obfuscate it thinking it demeans their uniqueness. To the contrary, I think it actually enhances the viewer or patrons understanding, and thus appreciation.
This thought occurred while discussing “Le Dejeuner sur la Beach” at my last exhibit during my presentation. The scene is simple and direct, hot sunny day on a beach, a figure standing in the foreground blocking the activity behind, a gentleman bending as he hunts for shells? Beach umbrellas, canopies, bathers, buildings, and bright sky, all reflect a typical day at the beach. But also reflected are my influences (for various reasons) of past artists, the sky - Rockwell Kent, the seascape scene - Edward Potthast, the ambiguity of the facial feature in the lady in blue suit - Elmer Bischoff, and the bending figure left middle ground - Manet's curious background figure in his “Luncheon on the Grass.” All this can make for a very exploratory viewing piece, and there is more to the painting. But as Doig cautions, shouldn't explain too much, the painting should do it. So I'll stop.