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Wednesday, 14 November, 2001, 16:45 GMT
Jazz genius's art on display
Miles Davis's painting Naked Profile
Davis's painting Naked Profile is some 2 metres across
By BBC News Online's Alex Webb

The largest ever exhibition of the paintings of jazz musician Miles Davis has opened to mark the 10th anniversary of the musician's death.

Fourteen canvases and more than 100 drawings have been assembled for the show at the Design Centre, central London.

Miles Davis
Davis took up painting during an illness
Jonathan Poole, European agent for the Miles Davis estate, told BBC News Online: "I thought we should have the biggest show I could get up. This is a fantastic collection."

Many of Davis's paintings are now in private hands, but the canvases on show in London show the vigour and boldness of his work.

The musician took up painting in the last decade of his life, and first exhibited in 1989.

Memphis

He was moved to start painting when illness prevented him playing the trumpet, but it became an increasingly serious pursuit for him.

Miles Davis's painting: White And Naked
He often used bold colours and African motifs
He was influenced by the Milan-based design movement known as Memphis - itself influenced by American Pop Art.

There are also deep African currents in his work, expressed in masks and recurrent images of women's bodies.

Intense

He used acrylic paints, pastel, and marker pens.

His most effective pieces are the larger canvases, which despite some na´ve touches often have an intense, brooding sense of personality about them.

But fans of his music will probably not be surprised that the trumpeter had talent to spare for the visual arts.

Davis, who was born in 1926, was one of the most influential musicians in jazz history and remained at the forefront of the music from the mid-1940s until his death in 1991.

The Art Of Miles Davis is at the Design Centre in Chelsea Harbour until 17 November

See also:

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