DAVIES, David (1863-1939)


DAVIES, David (1863-1939)
artist
was born at Ballarat, Victoria, in 1863 of Welsh parents. He studied at the Ballarat school of design under James Oldham, and then at the national gallery school at Melbourne under Folingsby (q.v.). About 1892 he went to Paris and studied under Jean Paul Laurens, and while in Paris married a fellow student. He returned to Melbourne in 1894, and during the next three years painted mostly around Templestowe and Cheltenham. In November 1894 his beautiful nocturne, "Moonrise Templestowe", was bought from the exhibition of the Victorian Artists' Society by the national gallery at Melbourne. Two years later another excellent picture, "A Summer Evening", was acquired by the national gallery at Sydney. His work was included in an exhibition of Australian pictures held at the Grafton galleries London in 1898, when his "A Bush Home" was bought by the well-known English landscape painter, Sir Alfred East. In 1897 Davies went to England and settled at Lelant, Cornwall. He was there for about 12 years and between 1899 and 1904 had five of his pictures hung in the Royal Academy exhibitions. In 1908 he moved to Dieppe, France, and lived there until about 1930 when he returned to England. He exhibited at both the old and new salons at Paris, at the New English Art Club, and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. In his later years Davies did much painting in water-colour and some of these were well-hung at exhibitions of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours. He died in England on 25 March 1939. His wife survived him with a son and a daughter.
Davies was a thoughtful and accomplished craftsman. He knew nothing about self-advertisement and was much more of a painter's painter than a dealer's. But he was not without admirers among art patrons, and he is well represented at the national gallery, Melbourne (which has four oils and two water-colours), at Sydney, Adelaide, Ballarat and at Dieppe. His well composed pictures, with their beautifully restrained colour and poetic feeling, give him a high place among Australian artists.
W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; J. S. MacDonald, The Art and Life of David Davies; The Art of David Davies (Catalogue of exhibition held at Fine Art Society's Gallery, Melbourne, 1926); A. Graves, The Royal Academy Exhibitions of Arts; private information.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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