Jesse Allen was born in Nairobi, Kenya on March 11, 1936. He studied at Oxford University and at University of California at Berkeley, but his art is wholly self-taught. His is not an eclectric art, but a wholly original one, and it excites the interest of an extraordinarily varied group of collectors.
Allen's forbearers were early settlers in Africa: immigrants to the Cape in 1820 and English gypsies. His childhood and adolescence were spent in East Africa near the Rift River of Kenya, and the wildness, loneliness and innocence of that landscape and its creatures, birds, animals and trees, have been preserved and metamorphosed into a new world of the painter's imagination, an inner country of the mind which these paintings and prints, one at a time, delineate with absolute sureness and authenticity.