I understand
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1920 – 2014

Interior Exterior
Oil on wood
122 x 152.5 cm
Purchased with funds from the Contemporary Art Society, Wakefield Corporation, Mr E. C. Gregor and Wakefield Permanent Art Fund (Friends of Wakefield Art Gallery and Museums) in 1958 from Gimpel Fils, London © The Estate of Alan Davie. All rights reserved, DACS 2017. Photographer Norman Taylor


The Scottish painter, designer and musician Alan Davie spoke of the necessity of freeing the creative mind from rational control.

The title Interior Exterior refers to this lifelong preoccupation. Many of the shapes and symbols here appear in a half-realised form, almost as if in a dream or as fragmented memories. The handling of the paint is quick and gestural, capturing a sense of frenetic energy.

Helen Kapp, a former Director of Wakefield Art Gallery, gave the painter his first retrospective exhibition in 1958. The Arts Review reported: ‘Once again Wakefield has had the courage of progressive convictions.’