Francis Davison 法蘭西斯.戴維森


“In 1983, Damien Hirst saw an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery of the collages of Francis Davison which ‘blew him away’. He spent the next two years trying to emulate them, in vain. As he discovered, although Davison’s works might look casually thrown together, they are in fact immaculately crafted orchestrations of colour, shape and tone.”


-Julian Spalding, museum director, curator and author of the award-winning book The Art of Seeing


Francis Davison (1919–1984) was a British visual artist and painter. His later work, starting shortly after his marriage to Margaret Mellis in 1948, is characterised by the use of collage: coloured printed paper layered and mounted on board.


Davison never added pigments, but only used the given colours of the paper. What look like brushmarks are actually the remains of previously glued, torn-off sheets. He increasingly recycled old collages, for he worked incessantly, in the small front room of their house which he used for a studio, hardly selling anything, making his work richer and richer and bigger and bigger.


Francis Davison was a reclusive artist who never actively sought the limelight. His work was not often exhibited during his lifetime. His one major exhibition was in 1983 at the Hayward Gallery, when he preferred his work to appear anonymously without titles.


His tremendous personal shyness seeped into his exquisite collages, and it is only with time and contemplation that they begin to reward with their own peculiar, hidden resonances.