This picture represents a breakthrough in Davie’s work. Made after he returned to London following his European tour of 1948, it is an unconventional, rapidly painted piece. He worked spontaneously, laying down in paint the images that appeared to him subconsciously, and built up a densely layered texture. Across its surface, a web of signs and symbols appear to take on a life of their own.
Entrance to a Paradise
Date of work
Oil paint on board 151.8 x 121 cm © Alan Davie
A Scottish painter and printmaker, Davie drew on imagery and symbolism from various world cultures, both ancient and modern, to create paintings of startling originality. Born in Grangemouth, Scotland in 1920, he first earned global recognition in the 1950s as one of the first British artists after the Second World War to develop an expressive form of abstraction. Fascinated by global mythologies, and seeing himself more as a medium – or shaman – than artist, he attempted to liberate painting from mental processes, creating a style that was spontaneous, improvised and complex.