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Alan Davie (1920 - 2014)

Scottish-born, Davie studied at Edinburgh College of Art in the late 1930s. After the Second World War, Davie played tenor saxophone in the Tommy Sampson Orchestra, which was based in Edinburgh but broadcast and toured in Europe. Davie travelled widely and in Venice became influenced by other painters of the period, such as Paul Klee, Jackson Pollock and Joan Miró, as well as by a wide range of cultural symbols. In particular, his painting style owes much to his affinity with Zen. Having read Eugen Herrigel's book Zen in the Art of Archery (1953), he assimilated the spontaneity which Zen emphasises. Declaring that the spiritual path is incompatible with planning ahead, he attempted to paint as automatically and spontaneously as possible, which was intended to bring forth elements of his unconscious. In this, he shared a vision with surrealist painters such as Miró, and he was also fascinated by the work of psychoanalyst Carl Jung. He represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1958 and was for years shown by the Gimpel Family in London. Falling somewhat out of favour in the later twentieth-century, his work has recently found a whole new base of younger admirers and is extremely collectable. Tate, London hold his paintings as do many public and private collections worldwide.

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