Allan Harrison was born in Montrèal in 1911.
Harrison first studied at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal in 1930 with John Lyman and André Biéler, then at the celebrated Art Students’ League of New York in 1931 with Kimon Nicolaides.
In 1932 and 1933, Harrison worked at the Atelier in Montréal under the direction of John Lyman and André Biéler. In 1939, Harrison was among the founding members of the Contemporary Art Society. In 1947-48, he went to Paris where he painted with Arpad Szenès.
Harrison returned to France in 1956, this time to work in the atelier of André L'hote.
Harrison’s career has been marked by periods of intense pictorial activity alternating with periods when he was absorbed by his work as an advertising designer.
He taught at the School of Art and Design of The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts from 1941 to 1946, Sir George Williams University from 1961 to 1966, and at the Université du Québec à Montréal from 1970 to 1972.
He also spent a lot of time traveling to Europe, Central America, Cuba, South America, and, more frequently, the United States.
He died in 1988.