About this artwork

In this painting Davie strove to paint spontaneously, without consciously deciding on the structure of the work. He was interested in the Zen Buddhist idea of being free from conscious control. However, the paintings he made during this period still have a definite structure and often have similar features. For example, the green triangle in the top left of the painting is reminiscent of 'Blue Triangle Enters.' In the later 1950s and 1960s Davie's brushwork became more controlled and the imagery more legible; mysterious signs and symbols began to appear.

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  • title: Lush Life No. 1
  • accession number: GMA 4113
  • artist: Alan DavieScottish (born 1920)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • materials: Oil on canvas
  • date created: 1961
  • measurements: 213.00 x 173.00 cm (framed: 215.70 x 175.30 x 4.90 cm)
  • credit line: Presented by the artist 1997
  • copyright: © The Estate of Alan Davie
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Alan Davie

Alan Davie

Davie was born in Grangemouth, near Edinburgh and studied at Edinburgh College of Art. In 1948 he saw the work of the American Abstract Expressionists and was impressed by their intensity and freedom. Davie abandoned traditional methods of composition and subject matter and sought to free his art from premeditated decision-making. This approach owes much to the artist's interest in Zen Buddhism and there is also an analogy with jazz - Davie was a jazz saxophonist early on in his career. In the later 1950s and 1960s Davie's brushwork became more controlled and the imagery more legible. Mysterious symbols began to appear, found in sources as varied as American Indian pottery, maps, ancient rock-carvings and Aboriginal art.