Alan Davie is one of Britain’s most internationally acclaimed artists and is arguably 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. Alan Davie added to a concentration of colour – already a remarkable feature in Jackson Pollock’s work before 1945 – the possibility of recognizing shapes, suggestions of movement and primitive, magical rituals.