Alan Davie 1920-2014

Alan Davie is one of Scotland's most internationally recognised artists with works in public collections across the world.


As a young man, he developed a love of the arts, wrote poetry and played saxophone in a jazz band. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1938-40. In 1945 Davie was deeply impressed by two exhibitions: Picasso at the V&A and Klee at the Tate, and not long after he visited the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, where he came across the paintings of Jackson Pollock. These American Abstract Expressionists inspired Davie, alongside Surrealism and the Cobra group. Using these, he developed his own unique form of expression combining mythic imagery, enigmatic symbols and 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 where work sold to Deutsche Bank and Davie was introduced to Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning. The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art held a retrospective exhibition in 2000, which was followed by a survey the following year at the Cobra Museum of Modern Art in the Netherlands. In 2003-2004, the Tate St. Ives exhibition Jingling Space celebrated Davie's significant contribution to painting. David Bowie was known to be an admirer.

Selected Exhibitions:
Shining Spirit, Westheimer Family Collection, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, 2008
Eye-Music - Klee, Kandinsky and all that Jazz, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, 2007
An Leabhar Mòr- The Great Book of Gaelic, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork, 2005; City Art Centre, Edinburgh, 2003; Gallery Modern Art, Glasgow, 2002
Alan Davie, Bilder aus 50 Jahren, Galeries Georg Nothelfer, Berlin, 2003
Alan Davie - Jingling Space, Tate St, Ives, Cornwall, 2003

20 Jahre Galerie Steinek, ein Portrait, Galerie Steinek, Vienna, 2002
Bienal 50 Anos, Museu de Arte Contemporanea da Universidade de Sao Paulo, 2001
Alan Davie, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, 2000
Times are Changing, Kunsthalle Bremen, 2000
Top in Pop, Galerie Dobele Dresden, 2000
Lineamente Inerntaional, Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, 1999


Selected Public Collections:

Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Austria, Museum Des 20 Jahrhunderts, Vienna,
Brazil, Museum of Moder Art, Rio de Janeiro
Canada, Musée D'Art Contemporain, Montreal
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON
France, Foundation Maeght, St Paul
Germany, Stattliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden
Stadtliche Kunstgalerie, Bochum
Italy, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
New Zealand, City of Auckland Art Gallery
Norway, National Gallery, Oslo
Portugal, Berardo Museum, Lisbon
Centro de Arte Moderna José de Azeredo Perdigao, Lisbon
South Africa, Iziko South African National Art Gallery, Cape Town
Switzerland, Schaulager, Münchenstein / Basel


United Kingdom;
Arts Council of England
British Council
Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery, Birmingham
Contemporary Art Society
City Art Centre, Edinburgh
Fitzwilliam Gallery, Cambridge
Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds
Royal Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh
Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh
Tate Britain, London
Tate Modern, London
Ulster Museum, Belfast
Victoria and Albert Museum
Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

Museum of Moder Art, New York
Metropolitan Museum, New York
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Museum of Art, San Francisco
Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas
MIT List Visual Art Centre, Cambridge, MA
Oklahoma City Museum of Art, OK