Leeds Forum

Feature Alan Davie

University of Leeds acquires artwork by the Scottish painter

A key work by Scottish abstract painter Alan Davie has been acquired by the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery at the University of Leeds, through support of the Art Fund and the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund. Together, the two programmes offered financial support in total of £45,000 to help fund the purchase of Davie’s Figure Mask No. 2, a piece which is now on display in the University of Leeds’ permanent collection room.

Davie’s work has previously been featured in London, New York, Copenhagen, Oslo and Manchester art galleries, and at the University of Leeds from 1957-1959. Figure No. 2, which Davies completed in 1956, exemplifies the type of work the painter produced at the time of his University of Leeds debut; work that was heavily influenced by his love of jazz music.

Davie’s original appearance at Leeds came as an invitation from the university to become Gregory Fellow in Painting. His latest appearance was made possible through the bequest for seed funding by Georgina Dobrée, daughter of Bonamy Dobrée, who was a member of the Gregory Fellowships committee that appointed Davie. Georgina had been a renowned clarinettist and therefore Davie’s jazz-inspired piece makes an apt tribute to her through its musical and family connections.

The painting was recently on display at the Stanley & Aubrey Burton Gallery as part of the ‘Alan Davie’ exhibition, in honour of the artist’s 80th birthday. It reflects a turning point in Davie’s career which occurred in the year of its completion, 1956. It was at this time that Davie started to work in a series, sharing forms, patterns and colours in several paintings he would work on simultaneously. Each work in the series would build and expand upon the prior, therefore creating a shared theme between the pieces; though each retain a separate and unique identity. Figure Mask No. 2 was completed this way, and as such it represents an important element in Davie’s artistic style and overall career.

Davie’s piece can be seen on display in the permanent collection room at the University of Leeds. Admission to the gallery is free, with opening times from Monday to Saturday, 10-5pm.

The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, Parkinson Building, University   of Leeds, LS2 9JT, 0113 343 778, www.leeds.ac.uk/gallery

Posted on Wednesday 11th August 2010

University of Leeds

Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT

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