Alex Colville (David Alexander Colville) began his creative career as a battle artist, but later changed the main direction of his work, in parallel experimenting with the technique, as well as the materials used.
Colville was born on August 24, 1920 in Toronto, and after 9 years the family moved to Amherst (Nova Scotia). After completing his studies at Mount Allison, 24-year-old Alex was sent to Europe, where he honed his skills as a martial artist. A year later, he returned to Canada and began painting based on his military sketches and watercolors. At a certain point, Colville decided to devote his life entirely to art, ending his military career. Between 1952 and 1955, the Hewitt Gallery in New York became the first institution to provide the artist with his early commercial exhibitions. In the meantime, Alex received the most serious support in Canada from the National Gallery of Canada, which bought seven paintings from him in the 50s.
The famous painting “Nude and Dummy” represents a turning point in the artist’s career, as with its appearance Alex moves away from war reporting in his work and focuses on personal themes. His creations are always closely related to the environment: his family, animals, nature nearby. At the same time, all of them are not a simple reflection of reality, but rather represent a special view of the artist, combining the beautiful and joyful with the disturbing and dangerous in his paintings. Techniques and materials also vary, from oil to resin or acrylic. During this period, Colville works carefully and only on one painting at a time. Its sophisticated geometry and incredible sense of proportion set the tone. As a result, Alex creates only about three or four paintings per year.
Colville became the first Canadian author whose work was presented in Japan. He also arranged exhibitions in Germany and Canada. In addition, he represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 1966. During his life, he received many awards for his creative achievements. Alex Colville died in 2013 – by that time he had been rector of the prestigious Acadia University for ten years.