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David Alexander Colville was born in Toronto in August 1920.
As young child, his parents moved to Amherst, Nova Scotia. He studied there, obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. In the early years of the 1940s, in addition to his marriage to Rhoda Wright and the birth of his first son, Colville was deployed to Europe as a war artist for the Canadian army. Returning home, following the birth of his second son, Colville began teaching at the same place where he had studied, at Mount Allison University. The 50s marked his first solo exhibitions as he established his reputation in the United States. In 1963, he was able to stop teaching to fully devote himself to painting, and orders were abundant: the Government of Canada commissioned him to design the commemorative coins for Canada's centennial, then he represented his native country at the Venice Biennale. In the following years, in addition to being represented in Europe, he received numerous honors from prestigious universities and his works entered the collections of major museums such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, etc.
He died in 2013 in Nova Scotia.