Alan Davie is one of Britain’s most internationally acclaimed artists and is Scotland’s most important artist of the twentieth century. He was the first British painter – and perhaps the first of all European artists – to realise the vitality and significance of American Abstract Expressionism.
Throughout his life Alan Davie obsessively drew and painted, producing paintings of startling originality, vitality and daring. Combining imagery derived from different world cultures with a love of music and language, Alan Davie’s paintings are a complex yet joyous celebration of creativity that combine the expressive freedom of abstraction with a wealth of signs, symbols and words.
Having seen the Jackson Pollock paintings from Peggy Guggenheim’s collection in Venice in 1948, Alan Davie was inspired to begin painting on a much larger scale, in an improvisatory way, with a vigorous, aggressive handling of paint. In 1950 Alan Davie abandoned the human body as a measuring stick – from now on, the latter, when it appeared, was in such a divided state that it was hardly identifiable – assuming an intrinsic dimension, a step away from reality. His compositions, based on the authority of the features, similar to those of Paul Klee enabled the painting to truly occupy the entirety of the plane.
Alan Davie and Paul Jenkins in St Ives