Provenance: The Artist / Gimpel Fils, London Private Collection
Exhibitions: Alan Davie, Gimpel Fils, London, 1961 Alan Davie, Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, 1961 Art Since 1950, Seattle World Fair: April-October 1962 A Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings by Alan Davie, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 1982 Alan Davie, Galerie Louis Carre, Paris, 1987 Alan Davie - Major Works of the Sixties, Gimpel Fils, London, 1989, cat.no.1, reproduced in colour Alan Davie - A Retrospective, The Butler Gallery, Kilkenny Castle, Ireland, 1993, cat.7 Alan Davie schilderijen paintings, 1950-2000, Cobra Museum voor moderne kunst, Amstelveen, Netherlands, 2001, reproduced in colour, cat.p.42 Alan Davie. Jingling Space, Tate St Ives, 2003
Literature: Alan Davie, Gimpel Fils, London, 1961(catalogue no.8) Bowness, Alan, Alan Davie, pub.Lund Humphries, London: 1967 (no.215, illustrated) Art Since 1950, Seattle World Fair: April-October 1962 (catalogue no.42) A Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings by Alan Davie, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 1982 (illustrated in colour) Alan Davie, Galerie Louis Carre, Paris, 1987 (illustrated) Alan Davie - Major Works of the Sixties, Gimpel Fils, London, 1989 (cat.no.1, illustrated in colour) Alan Davie, pub.Lund Humphries, London:1992, with esays by Douglas Hall and Michael Tucker (no.266, illustrated in colour p1.59, p.110) Alan Davie - A Retrospective, The Butler Gallery, Kilkenny Castle, Ireland, 1993 (cat.7) Alan Davie schilderijen paintings, 1950-2000, Cobra Museum voor moderne kunst, Amstelveen, Netherlands, 2001, illustrated in colour (p.42) Alan Davie, Jingling Space, Tate St. Ives, 2003
One of Alan Davie's most celebrated paintings, Patrick's Delight was acclaimed by Patrick Heron as Davie's greatest work, hence the title, and is considered by Davie to be one of his most important pictures.
One of the greatest British artists of the twenetieth century and one of the most internationally acclaimed, Davie established his reputation early. In the 1940s paintings were acquired by Peggy Guggenheim and in the 1950s he exhibited in New York and stayed with Jackson Pollock. Associated also with the abstraction of Britain's St. Ives painters such as his friends, Patrick Heron and Peter Lanyon, Davie remains one of the most individual and inventive painters at work today.
Patrick's Delight is a manifesto painting that declares a new size, colour and ambition for British art and appropriately attracted praise from the moment it was painted and even before it was titled by the artist or exhibited publicly for the first time. On a visit to the artist's studio, just after the completion of this painting, Patrick Heron was so excited by the work that Davie decided, in acknowledgement, to entitle it Patrick's Delight. Davie later recalled that Heron declared the painting to be his greatest work. (Alan Davie, recorded interview with Susan Daniel-McElroy, Tate St. Ives, 2003)
Heron had been an enthusiastic champion of Davie since the early 1950s. In his essay on Davie, first published in the anthology, The Changing Forms of Art (Routlege and Kegan Paul, London, 1955), Heron lavished praise on 'the great quality' of Davie's paintings, admiring their 'wealth of textural refinement, elaboration and pure physical richness, the poetry of pigment, the phantasy of paint itself.the 1950sDavie had a studio in Cornwall, and Patrick's Delight appropriately parallels not only American abstract expressionist painting but also the most advanced achievements of St. Ives. It contains echoes of Heron's stripe paintings and expanses of intensely coloured pigment as well as echoes of his friend Peter Lanyon, in its breezy patches of colour.
Unlike them, however, Davie uses a triptych format, as he had done previously in one of his greatest paintings of the 1950s, Creation of Man (1957) This use of the triptych contributes directly to the power and complexity of Patrick's Delight and creates one ofDavie's most ambitious paintings. It also anticipates Francis Bacon's adoption in the early 1960s of the large-scale triptych, a format which Bacon had not previously utilised, but began to employ for works that also had an unprecedented compositional complexity and range of colours.