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Alan Davie

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  • opus O.734 Magic Lamp No.20 March 1973

    Type: oil on canvas

    Size: 76.2 x 101.6 cms courtesy of the Artist's Estate and Gimpel Fils


Born on September 28, 1920 in Grangemouth, Scotland, he was educated at the Edinburgh College of Art, and exhibited his work in a regional setting until his death in Hertfordshire, England on April 5, 2014 at the age of 93. His work can now be found in museum collections worldwide, notably including the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, among others.


Edinburgh College of Art

1941 6
War Service, Royal Artillery

1946 7
Jazz musician

Married Janet (Bili) Gaul

1948 9
Travelled in Europe

Exhibitions in Florence and Venice, paintings bought by Peggy Guggenheim

Making jewellery and silverware, Jazz musician, birth of daughter Jane

First solo show at Gimpel Fils, London, subsequently every two years to date

First American show, Catherine Viviano Gallery, New York, subsequently shown frequently throughout the USA. Gregory Fellowship, University of Leeds. Public lectures

Retrospective, Wakefield Art Gallery,Retrospective, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London

Teaching, Central School of Arts and Crafts, London

1960 80
Gliding, 2000 hours in England, Switzerland, USA

Solo show, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Solo show Bienal di Sao Paulo, Brazil prize for best painter

1963 70
Experiments in lithography

1971 5
Concerts and recordings of spontaneous music

Awarded CBE

1974 91
Wintered in St. Lucia

Lecturer, Royal College of Art, London

Visit to Australia and Bali

Senior Fellow, Royal College of Art, London

Retrospective, McLellan Galleries, Glasgow, Scotland

1992 5
British Council Touring Exhibition, South America and Australia

Retrospective, Barbican, London

Drawing retrospective, University of Brighton and National Gallery of Modern Art, Scotland

2000 02
Small Paintings Touring Show, touring UK including Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh and Gimpel Fils, London

Retrospective, National Gallery of Modern Art, Scotland

Retrospective Cobra Museum for Modern Art Amstelveen

Visiting Professor, University of Brighton School of Art

Jingling Space Tate St Ives

Awarded RA, London


Selected Solo Shows

Alan Davie: The Seventies, Gimpel Fils, London
Alan Davie: Variation on a Theme, James Hyman Gallery, London

Alan Davie: A Universal Vision, Park Gallery, Callendar House, Falkirk
Alan Davie: Music, Magic and Mythology, Richard Green, London
Alan Davie: A Miraculous Storm,108 Fine Art, Harrogate, UK

BP Spotlights: Alan Davie, Tate Britain, London
Alan Davie Recent Work on Paper, Gimpel Fils

Alan Davie, Work on Paper, curated by James Coxson, Greyfriars Church, Edinburgh

Alan Davie: A Diamond Romance: An Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings from 1948 – 2012, 108 Fine Art, Harrogate
Transformation, Gimpel Fils, London
Works on Paper, Gimpel Fils, London

Boom Boom, Kings Place Gallery, London

Night Gems, Gimpel Fils, London
Alan Davie at 90, Callendar House, Falkirk
Alan Davie, Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds
Alan Davie, The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds
Scottish Prints: Alan Davie HRSA, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh

The Creative World of Alan Davie, Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh
Alan Davie, 108 Fine Art, Harrogate

Alan Davie: Shamans Enigma, Gimpel Fils, London & James Hyman, London; Hillsboro Fine Art, Dublin; Galerie Gimpel & Muller, Paris

Alan Davie: Paintings 1955 1967, Thomas Dane, London

Alan Davie: Paintings and Drawings 1948 2004, 108 Fine Art, Harrogate

Alan Davie: Paintings from the Fifties and Sixties, Gimpel Fils, London
Alan Davie: A Game of Poetry, Galleria Morone, Milan

Alan Davie: The Alchemical Journey, ACA Galleries, New York
Alan Davie, Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh
Alan Davie, Peter Scott Gallery, Lancaster University

2003 04
Alan Davie: Retrospective, Tate St. Ives, Cornwall

Alan Davie: Recent Paintings and Gouaches, Gimpel Fils, London, & James Hyman, London
Alan Davie in conjunction with Total Music Meeting, Free Music Production, Alan Davie and Tony Oxley jazz event, Galerie Nothelfer, Berlin
Gouaches, Gimpel Fils, London, & James Hyman, London
Retrospective Jingling Space, Tate St Ives

Alan Davie Small Paintings 1949 2000, Howard Gardens Gallery, University of Wale Institute
Alan Davie: Magical Symbolism, Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate

Alan Davie: Small Paintings 1949 2000, Touring: Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh, MAC Birmingham, Gimpel Fils, London
Alan Davie: “Il risveglio della conoscenza intuitiva”, Galleria Morone, Milan

Alan Davie: Small Paintings 1949 2000, University of Brighton Gallery
Alan Davie, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

Alan Davie: New Work, Gimpel Fils
Alan Davie: Works of the Nineties, UH Galleries, University of Hertfordshire

Alan Davie: Paintings 1993 1998, The Pier Arts Centre, Orkney
Alan Davie: Works on Paper, Faggionato Fine Arts, London

Alan Davie: Recent Gouaches, Gimpel Fils, London
Alan Davie, ACA Galleries, New York
Alan Davie: Drawings, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; University of Brighton Gallery, Sussex
Art Jonction, France

The First Years, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow
Alan Davie: A Microcosm, Pallant House, Chichester

Alan Davie, Gimpel Fils, London

University of Brighton Gallery, subsequently touring to Hastings Museum and Art Gallery; Ramsgate Gallery, The University Gallery, University of Northumbria at Newcastle; The University Gallery, Nottingham; The Smith Art Gallery and Museum, Stirling; Barbican Art Gallery, London
Tel Aviv, Bineth Gallery
Munich, ACA Galleries
Porto, Galeria Fernando Santos

A RetrospectiveThe Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, Ireland
Eva Cohon Gallery, Chicago
Alan Davie: The Quest for the Miraculous, ACA Galleries, New York

The Alan Davie Retrospective 1937 to the Present, McLellan Galleries, Glasgow, touring to Royal West of England Academy, Bristol. Talbot Rice Art Gallery, Edinburgh and British Council touring to Brussels and South America

Triennale Grafiki Krakow, Poland
Wolf At The Door, Penzance: Recent Paintings, Cornwall
Alan Davie: Recent Work, Gimpel Fils, London
Galerie Bork, Copenhagen,

Alan Davie in the 70’s, Galleri G, Helsingborg, Sweden

Works on paper 1960 1985, Gimpel Fils, London
Galleri G, Helsingborg Sweden,
Drawings, Kunsthandel Steinek, Vienna
Works on Paper, Galerie Louis Carre, Paris
Major Works of the Sixties, Gimpel Fils, London

Magic Fountains, Gimpel Fils, London
Alan Davie: Paintings from 1956 1988, South West Galleries Association, touring eight cities in Scotland

Major Works of the Fifties, Gimpel Fils, London
Moray House Gallery, Edinburgh
Galerie Louis Carre, Paris

Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, New York

Galerie Apicella, Bonn
Galerie Peccolo, Livorno,
Gimpel Fils, London
Yares Gallery, Scotsdale, Arizona

Bath Festival Gallery
Windsor Community Arts Centre
Galerie Van Loe, Frankfurt
Bede Gallery, Jarrow
Loft Gallery, Ware

Galerie d’Eendt, Amsterdam
Gimpel Fils, London

Rosenberg Fine Arts Ltd, Toronto,
The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh,
The Arcade GalleryHong Kong, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Harrogate
Galerie de Raam, Breda, Netherlands
FIAC, Paris

Gimpel Fils, London
Galerie Van Loe, Frankfurt

Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, New York
Gimpel & Hanover, Zurich
Lister Gallery, Perth

Bonheiden, Galeria Ado, Bonheiden
Ray Hughes Gallery, Brisbane
Carone Gallery, Fort Lauderdale
Gimpel Fils, London
Lister Gallery, Perth
Art of Man Gallery, Sydney

Galerie Brinkman, Amsterdam
Galeria am Palmengarten, Frankfurt
Gimpel Fils, London
Galerie Maercklin, Stuttgart
Gimpel & Hanover Galerie, Zurich

City of Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum, Aberdeen
Zoumboulakis Gallery, Athens
Carone Gallery, Fort Lauderdale
Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, New York
La Demeure, Paris
Galerie Le Dessin, Paris

Hokin Gallery, Chicago
Galleria La Medusa, Rome
Royal Oak Rubiner Gallery

Basel Art ’75
Gimpel Fils, London
Comsky Gallery, Los Angeles,
Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, New York
Galerie de France, Paris
Youngstown Kilcawley Center, Youngstown University
Gimpel & Hanover Galerie, Zurich

Edinburgh International Festival, Royal Scotish Academy, touring to Braunschweig and Karlsruhe: Retrospective 1952 1972
Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, New York

Galerie Lambert Monet, Geneva
Gimpel Fils, London
Oakland CCAC Gallery, California College of Arts and Crafts
Gimpel & Hanover Galerie, Zurich

1970 7
USA Retrospective: Austin Texas, Montreal Canada, Oakland CA

Gimpel Fils, London
Galerie Stangl, Munich
Gallerie La Medusa, Rome

Kunstmuseum, Basel
Gimpel Fils, London
Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, New York

Hudson Gallery, Detroit
Kunstverein fur die Rheinlande Westfalen, Dusseldorf
Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh

Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago
Kestner Gesellschaft Hannover,
Gimpel Fils, London
Galerie de France, Paris
Gimpel & Hanover Galerie, Zurich

Commonwealth Institute Gallery, Edinburgh
Queen’s Gallery, Leeds
Usher Gallery, Lincoln
Gimpel Fils, London
Norwich Castle Museum
Haaken Gallery, Oslo
Rotterdamsche Kunstring, Rotterdam

Galerie d’Aujourd’hui, Brussels
Galerie Rudolf Zwirner, Cologne
Copenhagen, Court Gallery
Gimpel Fils, London
Martha Jackson Gallery, New York
Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield
Galerie Bleue, Stockholm

Retrospective, Baden Baden Kunsthalle
Retrospective, Bern Kunsthalle
Gimpel Fils, London
Retrospective, Oslo Kunstnernes Hus
Retrospective, Pforzheim Kunstgewerbeverein
Galleria La Medusa, Rome
Sao Paulo VII Bienal de Bellas Artes
Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas,
Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro
Gimpel & Hanover Galerie, Zurich

Retrospective, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Retrospective, RBA Galleries, London

Gimpel Fils, London
Esther Robles Gallery, Los Angeles
Galleria del Naviglio, Milan
Martha Jackson Gallery, New York
Galerie Rive Droite, Paris
Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh

Gimpel Fils, London
Galerie Charles Leinhard, Zurich

Retrospective, Walker Art Gallery; London Whitechapel Art
Gallery; Nottingham University; Wakefield Art Gallery

1956 7
New York, Catherine Viviano Gallery

1950 6
London, Gimpel Fils

Florence, Galleria Michelangelo
Venice, Galleria Sandri

Edinburgh, Grant’s Bookshop


Selected Group Exhibitions

Contemporary Abstract Prints, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, UK
The Scottish Endarkenment: Art and Unreason 1946 to the Presentt, Dovecot Gallery, Edinbourgh, UK
Modern British Art and Post War Design, The Fine Art Society, London

The White Hotel, curated by Simon Bayliss & Lucy Stein, Gimpel Fils, London

Pop and Abstract, National Museum Cardiff
Alan Davie and Albert Irvin, Gimpel Fils, London
The Horse that has Visions of Immortality, Gimpel Fils, London
Textures: The Written Word in Contemporary Art, A.K.A Galleries, New York
Summer Exhibition. Royal Academy, London

2010 11
Old Master and Modern British Works, Andrew’s Gallery, London

Colour is the Keybord, Gimpel Fils, London

2009 2010
Echo & Transcend, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow

2008 9
Four Scottish Painters, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

Driven to Abstraction: British Abstract Art from the Collection, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester
Contemporary Scottish Artists: Recent Acquisitions from the Golder Thomson Gift, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester

Drawing Show, Gimpel Fils, London
Tracing the Land, Gimpel Fils, London

How Heavy is Black?, Broadbent, London

Scottish Art in the 20th Century, Royal West of England Academy

Scottish Art Since 1900, Barbican Art Gallery London, England

The Romantic Tradition in Contemporary British Painting, Traveling Exhibition
Spain International Contemporary Painting, Olympiades des Artes Seoul, Korea

British Art in the 20th Century, Royal Academy London, England

Celtic Vision, The Conde Duque Cultural Centre Gallery Madrid, Spain

Recalling the Fifties, Serpentine Gallery London, England

Contemporary British Painting, Municipal Museum Madrid, Spain

British Painting 1952 1977, Royal Academy of Art London, England


Public Collections

Arts Council of England, UK
British Council, UK
City Art Centre, Edinburgh, UK
Fitzwilliam Gallery, Cambridge, UK
Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds, UK
Royal Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK
Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton, UK
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, UK
Tate Britain, London, UK
Tate Modern, London, UK
Ulster Museum, Belfast, UK
Victoria and Albert Museum, UK
Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, UK
Arts Council of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
Fondation Maeght, St. Paul de Vence. France
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy
Staatliche Kunthalle, Baden Baden, Germany
Kunsthouse, Zurich, Switzerland
Kunstmuseum, Basel, Switzerland
Museum de 20.Jahrhundreds, Vienna, Austria
Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, Netherlands
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway
National Gallery, Oslo, Norway
Museum of Tel Aviv, Israel
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
Metropolitan Museum, New York, USA
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA
Museum of Art, San Francisco, USA
Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, USA
Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Museu de Arte Contemporanea, Sao Paulo
National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia


Selected Bibliography

Pollock, David, Art Preview: Scottish Endarkenment: 1945 to the Present, The List, March

Patience, Jan, Remembering Alan Davie’s Universal Vision, Herald Scotland, October
Chalmers, Graham, Alan Davie: Harrogate’s most exciting art exhibition of the year, The news North Yorkshire, July

McEwan, Olivia, Alan Davie: A Vigorous Impulsive Spiritual All Arounder at Tate Britain, Artlyst, May
Gleadell, Colin, Art Sales: Betting On the Tate Touch for Alan Davie, April
Davies, Peter, Alan Davie: Scottish Painter whose kaleidoscopic canvases took inspiration from improvised jazz and free verse, The Independent, April
Gimpel, René, Remembering Alan Davie: 1920 2014, Apollo Magazine, April
In Tribute, Alan Davie, Royal Academy of the Arts Blog, April
Hudson, Mark, The Artist that Time Forgot, The Telegraph, April
Phillips, Sam, Alan Davie RA, Totemic Structures and Titian’s Ghost Found at Ham House, RA Recommends, April
Hudson, Mark, The Mild Mannered Superman of British Art, The Telegraph, March

Alan Davie: Works on Paper, Artlyst, July
Greenwood, Robin, Alan Davie and Albert Irvin at Gimpel Fils, Abstract Critical, May

Harrogate Exhibition to Veteran Hero of Modern Art, Wetherby News, September
McKenzie, Dr Janet, Alan Davie: Works on Paper, Studio International, March April

White, Toby, Uncover the Hidden Unkown, The Arbuturian, June

Patience, Jan, A Double Homecoming for Alan Davie, The Herald Scotland, September
Dale, Paul, Alan Davie at 90 A Colourful History, The List, June
Clark, Robert, Exhibitions Picks of The Week: Alan Davie, Leeds, The Guardian, March

Key Painting by Alan Davie Acquired by University of Leeds, Art Daily, August
Doubal, Rosalie, The Creative World of Alan Davie, Edinburgh Festival Guide, August
Art Review: The Creative World of Alan Davie/John Bellany – A Celtic Voyage, News Scotsman, August
Jamieson, Teddy, Inside the World of Alan Davie, Arguably Scotland’s Greatest Living Artist, The Herald Scotland, July
Cox, Roger, Alan Davie Interview: Outsider Looking in, The Scotsman, May

Alan Davie: Paintings 1955 1967, Thomas Dane, February March

2006 7
Blow Up Between Form and Formless, MAP Scotland Contemporary Artform, Winter

Hare, Bill, Triple Vision, Galleries Magazine, September
Russell Taylor, John, Laird of the Rings, The Times 2 Arts, September

Coomer, Martin, Alan Davie, Time Out, December
Lambirth, Andrew, Christmas Round Up, The Spectator, December
Artist Interview, Scottish Art News, Autumn

Alan Davie: The Alchemical Journey, ACA Galleries, June
A very Colourful Classroom, Lancaster Guardian, May

Myth & Gesture, Tate Magazine, December
Davies, Peter, Times & Echo, The St. Ives, December
Cork, Richard, Still in Touch with the Cosmos, The Times, November
Alan Davie: Bilder Aus 50 Jahren, Berlin Exhibitions, November
Alan Davie: St. Ives, The Observer Guide, November
Alan Davie: James Hyman Fine Art, Gimpel Fils, The Art Newspaper, November
Alan Davie: Jingling Space, Tate St. Ives, The Art Newspaper, November
Packer, William, A Chance to Reconsider a Great Painter, The Financial Times, November
Searle, Adrian,Bruises, Blobs, and Bug Eyed Dogs: The Cobra Artists Wanted to Change the World – but they Just Ended up Making it a Horrible Mess, The Guardian, March

Booth Clibborn, Charles, Alan Davie, Print Review, The Paragon Press
Transition: The London Art Scene in the Fifties, Art Monthly, March

Richard Corks Choice: Alan Davie, The Times, Play Magazine, December
McEwen, John, Universal Language of an Artist Shaman, The Sunday Telegraph, December
Packer, William, Colours on a Grey Country, The Financial Times, December
Alan Davie: Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, Art Review, May

Alan Davie en Peter Lanyon, Pulchri 3

Kilkenny: 25 Years of Kilkenny Arts Week, Art Bulletin, August/Septemeber
Dunne, Aidan, 25 Years of Kilkenny, The Irish Times, August

McEwen, John, Bellany, The Sunday Telegraph, April

Gallagher, Patrick, Myth, Music, Mysticism, Irish Sunday Independent, August
The Old New Masters, Observer Magazine, August
Feaver, William, The Magical Mystery Tour, The Observer, July
A Lush Brush, Vogue, July
Cosmic Native, The Guardian, July
Hall, Charles, Eye Openers, The London Magazine, July
Russel Taylor, John, How to Stay Young at Heart, The Times, August
Alberge, Dalya, Joining the Dots on the Landscape, The Independent, July
Sawtell, Jeff, Signposts to Nirvana, Morning Star
Rose Beaumont, Mary, Colourful Brush with the Goods, Financial Times, July
ALAN DAVIE, Art Review, May
Gale, Iain, Tales of Man Myth and Magic, The Independent, May
Masp Trazo Ritmo Vigoroso de Davie, Caderno 2, Estadode S. Paulo, May
Whitford, Frank, Life After Pollock, Sunday Times, May

Griffiths, John, Alan Davie, Contemporary Art Magazine, Autumn
Andreae, Christopher, Alan Davie, Art News – Scotland, April
Henry, Clare, Alan Davie: 70th Birthday Retrospective, Arts Review, March
Andreae, Christopher, A Scottish Painter’s Twisting Journey, The Christian Science Monitor, January


Selected Publications

20th Century British Art: Autumn 2015, annual exhibition catalogue

Benezit Dictionary of British Graphic Artists and Illustrators, Oxford University Press

Patrizio, Andrew and Alan Davie, Alan Davie Jingling Space, Tate

Elliot, Patrick, Alan Davie: Work in the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Small Paintings, University of Brighton

Davie, Alan, Alan Davie: Drawings, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Hall, Douglas, Alan Davie, Lund Humphries Publishers

Davie, Alan, Magic Reader, Paragon Press

Davie, Alan, Alan Davie: village myths and other recent paintings [exhibition] March 27 April 28, Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer

Paintings by Alan Davie: Primitive Sculpture, Gimpel Fils
Bowness, Alan, Alan Davie, Lund Humphries

Horovitz, Michael, Alan Davie: Art in Progress, Methuen


Obituaries 2014 
Cohen, Lousie and Helen Little, Remembering the Great Painter, Alan Davie, April
Hudson, Mark, Alan Davie, 1920 2014, The Arts Desk, April
Kelly, Suzanne, Alan Davie 1920 2014: Celebrating A Most Colourful Life, April
McNay, Michael, Alan Davie Obituary, The Guardian, April
Steven, Alasdair, Obituary: Alan Davie CBE, Artist, The Scotsman, April
Weber, Bruce, Alan Davie, Painter with a Global Bent, Dies at 93, The New York Times, April
Obituary: Alan Davie, Musician, 93, Edinburgh News, April
Portonian Artist Alan Davie Dies Age 93, Falkirk Community Trust, April
Alan Davie: Painter, Scotland Herald, April
World Famous Painter Alan Davie Dies at the Age of 93, Falkirk Herald, April
Alan Davie RA Seminal Scottish Painter and Printmaker Dies Age 93, Artlyst, April
Alan Davie: Scottish Painter Dies Aged 93, BBC News, April
Alan Davie Obituary, The Telegraph, April