Scottish artist Alan Davie was born in Grangemouth, near Edinburgh, and studied at Edinburgh College of Art. After an encounter with American Abstract Expressionism he abandoned traditional methods of composition in favour of a less restricted style. During the 1950s, when this photograph was taken, Davie’s paintings were attracting considerable attention in New York. His paintings from that period were influenced by the intensity and freedom of the work of American artists such as Jackson Pollock. A wide variety of other influences on his work include American Indian pottery, maps, ancient rock-carvings and Australian Aboriginal art. His later artworks are more controlled and legible in style and clearly demonstrate Davie’s attachment to Zen Buddhism.