• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7637

    20th Century British Art

    12 December 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 109

    Alan Davie, H.R.S.A. (b. 1920)

    Yellow Box

    Price Realised  


    Alan Davie, H.R.S.A. (b. 1920)
    Yellow Box
    signed, inscribed and dated 'Alan Davie/YELLOW BOX/FEB 53' (on the reverse), dated again 'Feb 1953' (on the reverse), numbered 'OPUS: 0.91' (on the reverse)
    oil on board
    77 x 60 in. (195.6 x 152.4 cm.)

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Alan Bowness comments, 'Around 1950 it was Pre-Columbian gold work and Syrian seals that aroused his [Davie's] greatest interest; a year or two later the art of Africa and Oceania became more important ... Slowly, however, oil painting, at first usually on board, chosen for hardness (and cheapness), assumes more and more importance. Davie did not use ready-made tube colours: already in 1948 he had begun to make his own paints, mixing permanent powder pigments with oil and turps to a thin creamy consistency ... Heavily outlined, regular, flat shapes appear in many of the paintings of the early 1950's - squares, triangles, lozenges, discs, half-moons, which often detach themselves from the dense disorder behind them and float forward out towards the spectator ... For Davie all these shapes are at the same time symbolic (and thus he is not an abstract artist), but the use of symbols is always intuitive and their meanings can never be exactly defined' (see A. Bowness (ed.), op. cit., p. 171).

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
    Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.


    Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner's father in the 1960s.


    A. Bowness (ed.), Alan Davie, London, 1967, no. 64, illustrated.


    London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Alan Davie: Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings from 1936 - 1958, June - August 1958, no. 31.
    London, Gimpel Fils, Alan Davie, January - February 1954.