In celebration of Alan Davie’s 90th birthday, Gimpel Fils is honoured to exhibit a mini-retrospective of his work. The exhibition in gallery 2 will include previously unseen work and will span the entirety of his lengthy career. From early student works, to Venetian landscapes; paintings created in response to the American Abstract Expressionists to those charting the vistas of St. Lucia, this display is a testament to the diversity of Davie’s visual forms and his unbounded creativity.
Alan Davie has never been afraid to experiment. As a consequence his painterly forms and compositional structures are markedly different when we compare works from the 1950s with those made in the 1970s, or works from the 1960s with those from the 1990s. However, despite these differences, Davie’s passion for painting has been consistent. The desire to penetrate and excavate inner emotion and sensations in order to uncover a hidden truth has been his life’s vocation. Throughout his career, Davie has maintained an unwavering faith in the necessity of painting and in his 90th year, he remains dedicated to the principle that painting can enable transcendental revelation.
This exhibition follows a number of solo displays celebrating Alan Davie that have taken place this year. In January, Gimpel Fils presented Night Gems, which comprised works made in the last two years. A retrospective exhibition took place at The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds in March followed by a solo display at the Leeds City Art Gallery, which continues until October. Alan Davie has also taken over Callendar House, in Falkirk, his home town. A series of exhibitions and events will take place at Callendar House until October, while a street party is planned in his honour in Grangemouth, where his mosaic mural enlivens the town centre. Tate Britain will be exhibiting work by Alan Davie on the Manton Staircase during September in recognition of his contribution to art. Alan Davie will also have exhibitions in London, Paris and Dublin in 2011.
Prior to the Second World War Alan Davie studied at Edinburgh College of Art and after being demobbed in 1946 he quickly returned to his artistic career. He and his new bride Bili visited the metropolitan centres of Europe in 1948, in which year Davie saw work by the Surrealists and the new American painters at the Venice Biennale. With the support of Peggy Guggenheim, whom he met in Venice, Davie was able to establish himself as an emerging artist of terrific significance when he returned to London. Davie had his first solo exhibition at Gimpel Fils in 1950 and we are delighted to be exhibiting his work 60 years later.
Alan Davie’s last major retrospective exhibition was staged at Tate St. Ives in 2003-4. Other exhibitions of his artwork include The Barbican Art Gallery, London (1993), The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (1997), COBRA Museum, Amstelveen (2001). His paintings, drawing and prints can be found in numerous international public collections including Tate Collection, London; The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; and Museu de Arte Contemporanea, São Paulo.