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Self Portrait with Brushes
© the artist's estate. Photo credit: National Galleries of Scotland

Self Portrait with Brushes 1937

Alan Davie (1920–2014)

National Galleries of Scotland

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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