In time for Christmas, Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales announced its acquisition of Crazy Gondolier (1960), a bright, jubilant painting by Scottish artist Alan Davie. The work was acquired with the generous support of the Derek Williams Trust (£30,000) and The Art Fund
, the UK's leading independent art charity (£20,000).
Crazy Gondolier (1960) is on display at National Museum Cardiffs popular The Sight of Sound exhibition. The exhibition features works of art influenced by music and music inspired by art, which will remain open until 3 January 2010.
Music is a theme which is often reflected in Davies work. He was a jazz musician and his spontaneous, energetic abstract paintings such as Crazy Gondolier are often compared to free form music.
Davie was born in Scotland in 1919 and trained at Edinburgh College of Art. Awarded a travel scholarship in 1941, he took inspiration from the works of Picasso, Henry Moore and Marc Chagall during his time in Europe and went on to develop his own signature style.
Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales already has a number of works on paper by Davie, but this is the first painting by the artist to enter its collections, and is from a particularly vibrant period of the artists career.
Bryony Dawkes, Curator of The Sight of Sound exhibition has chosen Sun Ra performing Velvet as a track to complement Crazy Gondolier. She said: Crazy Gondolier is not a direct response to a specific musical work but is musical in its feeling. This performance of Velvet suited the work for a number of reasons date, style, feeling and the profound spiritual approach to creativity of both Davie and Sun Ra.
Andrew Macdonald, Acting Director of The Art Fund, said: "This lively work sums up Davies exuberant style, and will look even more fantastic when set to music. Were delighted that Crazy Gondolier is on show in Cardiff and that it is now part of Wales permanent collections, meaning that future generations will enjoy the work of this important British artist."
The Christmas season is the last chance to enjoy The Sight of Sound exhibition which will close in the New Year. The Museum will then display more contemporary art through Artes Mundi 4 which will open in March 2010.
Other paintings on display until January include works by Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and Henry Moore who have chosen to represent the human body. Modern Bodies explores the importance of the human figure for artists working in the twentieth century.
Colour and Form: Abstract Painting and Sculpture in Postwar Britain a display focusing on post-war British abstract painting and sculpture from Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales collection is also on display. Major works by Welsh artists Terry Setch, Ivor Davies and John Selway in addition to British names such as Richard Smith, Robyn Denny, Gillian Ayres are featured. Some of the works are from the Derek Williams Trust Collection including a number of new acquisitions displayed here for the first time.