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date: 23 October 2019

Davie, Alanlocked

(b Grangemouth, Scotland, Sept 28, 1920; d Hertford, England, April 5, 2014).
  • Adrian Lewis

Extract

(b Grangemouth, Scotland, Sept 28, 1920; d Hertford, England, April 5, 2014).

Scottish painter and printmaker. He trained as a painter at Edinburgh College of Art from 1938 to 1940, initially favouring poetic imagery and coming into contact with modernism at exhibitions held in London of works by Picasso (1945; V&A) and Paul Klee (1945; Tate). He explored a diverse range of activities, however, before returning to painting: from 1949 to 1953 he earned his living by making jewellery and in 1947 he worked as a jazz musician, an activity he continued in later life. He wrote poetry during the early 1940s.

From 1947 to 1949 Davie travelled extensively in Europe; in Italy he studied pre-Renaissance art and saw a wide range of modern art, including the Peggy Guggenheim collection in Venice, to which he later continued to have access. Among the works owned by Guggenheim were paintings of the early 1940s by Jackson Pollock, which led Davie to adopt mythic imagery and forceful painterly gestures. He also adopted from later Pollock a procedure of painting rapidly with his canvases on the floor. From this time his pictures concentrated on themes of organic generation and sinister ritual, fluctuating between turbulent paintwork, animate presences and more geometric forms, sometimes in the same work, as in ...

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