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David Abse

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Birth year

Lives in
Bize-Minervois, France

Works in
Narbonne, France


University of Wolverhampton, UK, 1983, BA (Hons)
Keele University UK, 1998, MA

graffiti/street-art, digital, modern, landscape, mixed-media, abstract, printmaking landscape painting abstract landscape, spray art drawing landscape, exhibition/performance


David Abse was born in London in December 1958. Despite being born in England, David never has felt that this defines his identity. His father (Dannie Abse) brainwashed him to support Cardiff City FC, and told his son that he was half Welsh, and half Jewish, and half English. David realised early on his father's mathematical shortcomings and was glad that his father had chosen a career as a poet rather than as a quantum physicist. David's mother (Joan Abse) was from Lancashire (St Helens) and her parents were English and Scottish. She moved to London as a young woman where she met David's dad, Dannie. After bringing up three kids, she became a renowned art historian.  David's maternal grandfather (Jack Mercer) had a profound effect on David's life: He worked as a shop steward for years in the Pilkingtons' glassworks in St Helens, but after he retired he went to art school every day for 30 years. He died over 20 years ago, aged 99, still a communist, determined not to get a telegram from the queen.  

Despite David's father's determination that David should get a "proper job", David went to Art school in Wolverhampton, and worked for many years in the voluntary sector in the UK - including several years as a union representative, and more years as CEO of Islington Voluntary Actiion Council (IVAC). After leaving IVAC in 2005 David set up a freelance consultancy business, Toosh, that would still be thriving if not for the bizarre decision of the UK populace to put the Tories in charge of ruining the country. Throughout these years David continued drawing and painting part time. 

Five years ago David moved to France, and returned to painting, drawing and printmaking full time. Plus a bit of writing.: David writes occasionally for L'Artiste and has a regular column in The Hérault Times. He also writes a fascinating blog.

David now lives with his family in a small house in the beautiful medieval village of Les Matelles in the Hérault. He still thinks of himself as half English, half Welsh, half Jewish and as a Londoner too. It is no surprise then that many of David's paintings focus on issues of identity. Amazingly, David's son Marley is a maths whizz.


  • 1983:  Tarmac Prize – Wolverhampton UK
  • 1984:  Ferens Art Gallery – Open  - Hull UK
  • 1984:  Bradford Print Biennale - UK
  • 1985: Kanagawa Print – Japan
  • 1985: Leigh Gallery, Kings Cross, London (solo show)
  • 1986: Open Print Exhibition, Krakow, Poland
  • 2010: September: "New Paintings", Matelles-Art Gallery, France
  • 2011: March: "Liquid Oxygen", Group Show, Icosahedron Gallery, New York, USA
  • 2011: April: "Le Printemps en Folie", Le Soleil Bleu Galerie, Lodève, France
  • 2011: May: "Animals", Art Nomade, Gignac, France
  • 2011: May 21: Pic Saint Loup “Festa Trail”, St Mathieu, France
  • 2011: June: "Boom", The Brick Lane Gallery, London, UK
  • 2011: June/July: "Animaux", Matelles-Art Gallery, France
  • 2011: October: Parallax Art Fair, London, UK
  • 2012: June: "Fleurs", Matelles-Art Gallery, France
  • 2012: July/August: "Celebration of Sport", Outside the White Cube, London, UK 
  • 2012: September: The Electric Cinema, Congleton, Cheshire, UK


Francis Kyle Gallery, London (1984-1990)


June/July 2011 edition of L’Artiste. See





Recent Exhibits

David Abse participated in these exhibits:

Mar, 2011 Canned Oxygen
Icosahedron Gallery
Sep, 2010 David Abse
Matelles-Art, Les Matelles, Nr Montpellier
Exhibited with these artists
Exhibited at these venues
David Abse has Exhibited at these venues:

Icosahedron Gallery Matelles-Art, Les Matelles, Nr Montpellier
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