Remfry attended Hull College of Art from 1959–64 before moving to London. His first show in the United States was at the Ankrum Gallery, Los Angeles in 1980. He has exhibited since then at galleries in New York, Los Angeles and Florida and in 2002 had a solo exhibition at MoMA PS1, New York, curated by Alanna Heiss and Daniel Marzona.  Solo museum shows in the UK include the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge Ferens Art Gallery Hull, (1975 and 2005), Middlesbrough Art Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The National Portrait Gallery commissioned Remfry to paint Sir John Gielgud in 1981 and also acquired his watercolor of Jean Muir.
Remfry was elected a member of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1987. In 2001 he was awarded the M.B.E. for services to British Art in America by Queen Elizabeth II. In 2006 he was elected a Member of the Royal Academy of Arts, London and in 2007 he was invited to receive Honorary Doctorate of Arts by the University of Lincoln. Remfry was awarded the Hugh Casson Drawing Prize at the 2010 Summer Exhibition and in 2016 he was appointed the Eranda Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy Schools.
New York City
In 1994 Remfry was offered an exhibition at the Tatistcheff Gallery on 57th Street. He moved to the Hotel Chelsea on 23rd Street in 1995 and took a studio in the recently converted 526 West 26th Street building in Chelsea. The exhibition Gotham Nights opened at Tatistcheff on 30 January 1996. In the catalogue Remfry said This is an extraordinary city. It oozes vitality. It is vital because it is dangerous. It is dangerous because it throws out infinite possibilities, many wonderful and some hazardous. It is a city of paradox; cruelty and compassion side by side. There are people who lead lives dedicated to others. There are some dedicated to taking from others. You run to survive, nobody coasts. They say the city never sleeps. It does, but only cat naps in the early hours and even then it's cacophony haunts your own sleep.
Hotel Chelsea Years
In 2002 George Bolge, Director of the Boca Raton Museum of Art curated the exhibition David Remfry Dancers. A body of work begun by Remfry in 1985 that numbered over 80 paintings and drawings, many of which had not been exhibited before. Remfry was working almost exclusively on paper, but not in the conventional way of small, polite landscapes. His watercolors are large; some single-figure pieces are practically life-size, and his subjects are decidedly urban.
To coincide with the exhibition a book, Dancers, was published by the Boca Raton Museum of Art. It serves as a biographical and critical study of the work, with esays by Edward Lucie-Smith, Dore Ashton and Carter Ratcliff, and provides a definitive mid-career survey of an increasingly important and original figure in British and American Art.
The exhibition toured to the Butler Museum of Art, Ohio, (2003) The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (2005) and the Ferens Art Gallery, Hull (2005/6)
People and Dogs Drawn Together
In his studio at the Hotel Chelsea, Remfry became fascinated by the relationships that develop between dogs and their owners. His drawings and watercolours reveal the mutual understanding and sympathy of these partnerships. The drawings depict actors including Ethan Hawke (and Nina), Susan Sarandon (with Penny and Rigby) and Alan Cumming (with Honey) and several Hotel Chelsea neighbours among them April Barton (with Ava), Laura Kaplan (with Oscar) and Drew Straub (with Fuzzy) the philanthropist Agnes Gund (with Tina, Giotto and Bronzino) and Mayer Rus (with Louise). In 2015 the Royal Academy of Arts, London published the book We Think The World of You, People and Dogs Drawn Together. ISBN 978-1-910350-17-1. Distributed outside the United States and Canada by Thames & Hudson, Ltd London and distributed in the United States and Canada by Harry N. Abrams, Inc, New York.
Drawings for Stella McCartney
In 2002 Stella McCartney commissioned David Remfry to produce a series of drawings of fashion model Tetyana Brazhnyk to be used in the advertising campaign to launch the first collection of her own fashion house in association with Absolut Vodka (which has a history of dramatic and provocative advertising incorporating the work of contemporary artists). McCartney was prompted to commission Remfry after seeing one of his drawings on the cover of the second edition of "The Image" magazine from 1972. (Peter Blake produced the first cover). The retro styling and the sensual mood of these drawings are characteristic of Remfry's work, and also of Stella McCartney's designs, which are inspired by 1960s and 70s fashions. In addition to appearing in all major fashion magazines, a giant 10 story poster appeared on the side of the Mondrian Hotel LA to coincide with the launch of the project at the Chateau Marmont. McCartney said “Absolut has a long history of collaborating with fashion designers, photographers, painters and other visual artists and I’m excited to join their ranks,” said Stella. “I’m particularly excited because this marks the first time that drawings have been used in the campaign.” In September 2003 the Victoria and Albert Museum, London opened Fashion Into Art: David Remfry Drawings for Stella McCartney curated by Fiona Leslie. McCartney said on that occasion "David uses the pencil in a bold and direct way. Yet the result is human, feminine and delicate. These drawings captured a moment in fashion. You can feel the sexual chemistry between the artist and his muse, a style of drawing not often seen, and I admire him for keeping it alive". A book, Fashion Into Art: David Remfry Drawings for Stella McCartneyaccompanied the exhibition and features an interview with the artist by Lance Esplund.
Work in Public Collections
- Bass Museum of Art, Florida
- Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida
- British Museum, London
- Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
- Contemporary Art Society, London
- Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England
- Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, mima England
- Minnesota Museum of American Art, Saint Paul
- National Portrait Gallery, London
- New Orleans Museum of Art
- Orlando Museum of Art, Florida
- Museo Rayo, Roldanillo, Colombia
- Royal Academy of Arts, London
- Royal Watercolour Society, London
- Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
- The Museum at Florida International University, Florida
- Royal Collection, Windsor, England
- Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, England
- Victoria and Albert Museum, London
- Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, England
- Artist's official website
- Royal Academy of Arts official website
- MoMAPS1 official website
- National Portrait Gallery official website
- Victoria & Albert Museum official website
- Daily Telegraph Article In The Studio
- RWS official website
- Studio International Article
- Evening Standard official website
- Video on YouTube Dancers Exhibition at Boca Raton Museum of Art
- We Think The World of You RA video
- David Remfry Dancers Book
- Hello Magazine official website
- Royal Collection official website
- Fortnum and Mason by Mick Rooney RA
- Asbolut official website