Alter Mann

by Alan Davie
  • Medium: Etching & Chine Colle
  • Image size: 50 x 66cm
  • Edition size: 12

Alan Davie

Alan Davie (1920-2014)
The directors, staff and members of Edinburgh Printmakers, were saddened to hear of the recent death of Alan Davie, who died peacefully at his home on 5th April 2014.
One of Edinburgh Printmakers’ most significant collaborating artists, Davie produced a large number of limited edition original prints with us, over the last decade.
James Alan Davie was one of Scotland’s most highly acclaimed and respected artists. He was appointed CBE in 1972 and elected a senior Royal Academician in 2012. In 2003 a retrospective, Jingling Space, was held at Tate St Ives, and this week a BP Spotlights display of his work opened at Tate Britain. His works are held in public collections worldwide, among them the Tate Gallery, the Gulbenkian Foundation and MoMA in New York.
We offer our deepest sympathy to Alan’s family at this sad time.



Alan Davie - celebrated painter and jazz musician - has produced many joyful and intriguing works in print. The prints are an extension of his drawing and painting and are a highly important part of his artistic output. The etchings on copper that Alan Davie made in 2003 were produced in collaboration with master printer Alfons Bytautas and were commissioned and published by Edinburgh Printmakers. Edinburgh Printmakers is at the forefront of research into innovative print technology and as a result, new techniques were used to create these images. The prints are photo-etchings and use the latest photo-polymer technology in place of traditional wax resists and dangerous acids.

Developed for the printed circuit industry, photopolymer films have two properties that are of interest to printmakers. First they are sensitive to ultraviolet light and can be exposed using various ultraviolet light sources including sunlight. Second they are extremely acid-resistant and when used as a photo-resist, even the finest of detail can be subjected to lengthy biting. Photography has always been closely linked with printmaking – in 1852 William Henry Fox Talbot began his pioneering work on photographic engraving. He used photosensitised gelatine applied directly to a plate prepared with an aquatint ground. An image was created on the plate by contact exposure; a positive transparency (or a natural object such as a leaf) was placed on the plate and exposed to sunlight. Parts of the coating that had been exposed to the sun were hardened while allowing the soft gelatine, shielded from the light by the positive, to be washed away with water to expose the copper. The plate was then etched and Fox Talbot was the first to employ ferric chloride (as used for etching the Davie prints) for this process.


Born in 1920, Grangemouth. Alan Davie studied at Edinburgh College of Art between 1938 and 1941. He won international recognition during the 1950s with his intuitive abstract works of art, and since has exhibited extensively throughout the world. Works by Davie have been purchased for collections such as MOMA and Metropolitan Museum New York; Tate and Victoria & Albert Museum London; and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venice.

Work by Alan Davie