Born in 1920 in Grangemouth, Scotland, Alan Davie studied at Edinburgh College of Art in the late 1930s. He then exhibited through the Society of Scottish Artists. Travelling widly in Europe and the Caribbean, he was influenced by Paul Klee, Joan Miro and Jackson Pollock. He came to believe in the power of the unconscious and has assimilated the spontaneity which Zen emphasises. He shows how disparate cultures often share common visual symbols.
As well as painting, Davie has also made screenprints, usually in a small limited edition with collaged paper embellishments. He has worked with the printmaker to develop prints which are renowned for their painterly effects.