Alan Davie was born in Grangemouth in 1920. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1938-40. He is one of Britain’s most internationally acclaimed artists and is Scotland’s most important artist of the twentieth century.
As a young man he developed a love of the arts, wrote poetry and played the saxophone in a jazz band. In 1945 Davie was deeply impressed by two exhibitions – Picasso at the V&A and Klee at the Tate. Not long after he visited the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice where he came across the paintings of Jackson Pollock. Davie was inspired by American Abstract Expressionism as well as Surrealism and the Cobra group.
He developed his own unique form of expression combining mythic imagery, enigmatic symbols, later taking inspiration from African and Oceanic Art as well as Zen Buddhism.
In 1956 Davie made his first trip to the United States where he was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Catherine Viviano Gallery and was introduced to Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning.
Now in his late eighties Davie continues to produce paintings of startling originality, vitality and daring. Combining imagery derived from different world cultures with a love of music and language, 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.