Alan Davie RA (1920 - 2014)

James Alan Davie was a Scottish painter and printmaker. He trained at Edinburgh College of Art from 1938 until 1940 and as a young man wrote poetry and played the tenor saxophone in the highly regarded Tommy Sampson Orchestra.

Inspired by the American Abstract Expressionists, Surrealists and the Cobra Group, he developed his own unique form of expression combining mythic imagery, enigmatic symbols and, later, taking inspiration from African and Oceanic Art as well as Zen Buddhism.

Throughout his later career, Davie continued to produce paintings of startling originality and vitality. Combining imagery derived from different cultures with a love of music and language, he created paintings which were a complex celebration of creativity.

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art held a retrospective exhibition in of Davie’s wotk in 2000. In 2003, the Tate St. Ives exhibition Jingling Space celebrated Davie’s significant contribution to painting.

Alan Davie died on 5 April 2014

Read a tribute by President of the Royal Academy Christopher Le Brun

• Read an obituary in The Telegraph

• Read a recent interview with Alan Davie in RA Magazine


Royal Academician


Elected RA: 24 May 2012

Born: 28 September 1920

Died: 5 April 2014