Alan Davie RA.

Photo: Nick Hudson.

In tribute: Alan Davie RA

By Christopher Le Brun

Published 8 April 2014

President of the Royal Academy Christopher Le Brun remembers the artist who died on 5 April aged 93.

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  • As Alan Davie RA was too frail to come to the Royal Academy, on 20 January this year I went to Hertfordshire with our Archivist Mark Pomeroy to present him with his medal and witness his signing the Roll of Obligation. This is a historic document which includes the signatures of every Academician since our founding in 1768. Our visit signified his becoming a Senior Royal Academician.

    What was so touching was to see this grand old man of British painting at home, in a house he had designed himself, surrounded by his work and to see alongside his chair dozens and dozens of new drawings. He was active to the last, and modestly showed us his studio, his painting store, his wonderful collection of African art and even the jewellery he made as a young man. I particularly remember the simple daybooks that recorded in a careful hand every work made over many decades.

    He lived to paint, and how strongly one felt the presence of his rich imagination.

    A friend of Pollock and Rothko, he was accepted by them as an equal. It was a life of utter aesthetic integrity and spirit that is now complete.

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