Alan Davie the seminal Scottish painter and printmaker has died aged 93. Born in Grangemouth, near Falkirk on 28 September 1920, the son of a schoolmaster and amateur artist who him to draw from childhood. He studied painting at Edinburgh College of Art from 1938 to 1940. His style initially utilised poetic imagery merging with modernism. He attended an exhibition by Picasso at the V&A in1945 and Paul Klee in 1945 at the Tate. This was to have a profound impact on this work.
He spent the next few years exploring a diverse range of occupations include jewellery making and performing as a jazz musician., however, before he returned to painting: from 1949 to 1953. In 1958 Davie started to use intuition, as expressed in the form of enigmatic signs. From 1953 to 1956, taught at London’s Central School of Arts and Crafts now St Martins UA.
Throughout the1960s, both in paintings and in coloured lithographs, he represented such images with increasing clarity at the expense of gestural handling. In 1971 he made his first visit to the island of St Lucia, where he began to spend half of each year and which brought Caribbean influences to bear on his suggestive imagery, as in Bird Gong No. 10, Opus 730 (1973; London, Brit. Council). Taking on the role of a disinherited shaman, Davie created a synthesis of mythologies from a variety of cultures for a modern civilisation devoid of its own village myths. “Davie died peacefully at home on 5th April,” his London gallery, Gimpel Fils, stated. They will be holding an exhibition of his work later this month.
Alan Davie’s (1920-2014) work will be displayed at Tate Britain as part of the BP Spotlights series from 14 April.