David Sutherland was born in Wick. He studied at the Royal Scottish Academy under Charles Mackie and at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA). Awarded the Carnegie Travelling Scholarship, Sutherland used it to travel to Spain, France and the Low Countries. After the war he taught at ECA and, with Mary Newbery and Dorothy Johnstone, he helped revive the Edinburgh Group. In 1924 Sutherland and Dorothy Johnstone were married. Towards the end of the decade Sutherland often painted in the north-east with colleagues William Gillies and John Maxwell. Upon his appointment as principal of Gray's School of Art in 1933 he and Dorothy moved to Aberdeen. Sutherland continued to paint on both the west and east coasts. The Sutherlands retired to east Aberdeenshire in 1948. David Sutherland is mainly known for his Scottish and Breton landscapes. He also painted portraits.