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British painter, graphic artist, poet, musician, silversmith, and jeweller, born at Grangemouth, Stirlingshire, son of a painter and etcher. Davie studied at Edinburgh College of Art, 1937–40, and after serving in the Royal Artillery, 1941–6, had his first one-man show at Grant's Bookshop, Edinburgh, in 1946. He then briefly worked as a professional jazz musician (he plays several instruments) before spending almost a year (1948–9) travelling in Europe. This gave him the chance to see works by Jackson *Pollock and other American painters in Peggy *Guggenheim's gallery in Venice, and he was one of the first British painters to be affected by *Abstract Expressionism. Other influences on his eclectic but extremely personal style are African sculpture and Zen Buddhism.

Text source: A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art (Oxford University Press)

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