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Arthur Boyd

Arthur Boyd

Overview

Arthur Merric Bloomfield Boyd, AC
Order of Australia
The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, "for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service"...

, OBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (24 July 1920 – 24 April 1999) was one of the leading Australian painters of the late 20th Century. A member of the prominent Boyd artistic dynasty
Boyd Family
The Boyd family is an Australian artistic dynasty. Members of the family over several generations have established themselves as painters, artists, illustrators, sculptors, potters, ceramists, writers, architects, graphic designers, and musicians....

 in Australia, his relatives included painters, sculptors, architects or other arts professionals. His sister Mary Boyd married John Perceval
John Perceval
John de Burgh Perceval AO was a well-known Australian artist. Perceval was the last surviving member of a group known as the Angry Penguins who redefined Australian art in the 1940s...

, and then Sidney Nolan
Sidney Nolan
Sir Sidney Robert Nolan OM, AC was one of Australia's best-known painters and printmakers.-Early life:Nolan was born in Carlton, a suburb of Melbourne, on 22 April 1917. He was the eldest of four children. His family later moved to St Kilda. Nolan attended the Brighton Road State School and...

, both artists. His wife Yvonne Boyd née Lennie, and son Jamie and daughters Polly and Lucy are also painters.

Boyd's work ranges from impressionist renderings of Australian landscape to starkly expressionist figuration, and many canvases feature both.
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Arthur Merric Bloomfield Boyd, AC
Order of Australia
The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, "for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service"...

, OBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (24 July 1920 – 24 April 1999) was one of the leading Australian painters of the late 20th Century. A member of the prominent Boyd artistic dynasty
Boyd Family
The Boyd family is an Australian artistic dynasty. Members of the family over several generations have established themselves as painters, artists, illustrators, sculptors, potters, ceramists, writers, architects, graphic designers, and musicians....

 in Australia, his relatives included painters, sculptors, architects or other arts professionals. His sister Mary Boyd married John Perceval
John Perceval
John de Burgh Perceval AO was a well-known Australian artist. Perceval was the last surviving member of a group known as the Angry Penguins who redefined Australian art in the 1940s...

, and then Sidney Nolan
Sidney Nolan
Sir Sidney Robert Nolan OM, AC was one of Australia's best-known painters and printmakers.-Early life:Nolan was born in Carlton, a suburb of Melbourne, on 22 April 1917. He was the eldest of four children. His family later moved to St Kilda. Nolan attended the Brighton Road State School and...

, both artists. His wife Yvonne Boyd née Lennie, and son Jamie and daughters Polly and Lucy are also painters.

Boyd's work ranges from impressionist renderings of Australian landscape to starkly expressionist figuration, and many canvases feature both. Several famous works set Biblical stories against the Australian landscape, such as "The Expulsion" (1947-48), now at Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery of New South Wales
The Art Gallery of New South Wales , located in The Domain in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, was established in 1897 and is the most important public gallery in Sydney and the fourth largest in Australia...

.

He was a member of the Antipodeans
Antipodeans Group
-History:The Antipodeans group consisted of seven modern painters and the art historian Bernard Smith, who compiled The Antipodean Manifesto, a declaration fashioned from the artists' comments as a catalogue essay to accompany their exhibit....

, a group of Melbourne painters that also included Clifton Pugh
Clifton Pugh
Clifton Ernest Pugh AO, was an Australian artist and three-time winner of Australia's Archibald Prize. He was strongly influenced by German Expressionism, and was known for his landscapes and portraiture...

, David Boyd
David Boyd (artist)
David Fielding Gough Boyd, OAM was an Australian artist, and a member of the Boyd artistic dynasty.-Boyd family artistic dynasty:...

, John Brack
John Brack
John Brack was an Australian painter, and a member of the Antipodeans group.-Life:...

, Robert Dickerson
Robert Dickerson
Robert Dickerson is an Australian figurative painter and former member of the Antipodeans group of artists. Dickerson is one of Australia's most recognised figurative artists and one of a generation of influential artists who include Ray Crooke, Charles Blackman, Laurence Hope, Margaret Olley and...

, John Perceval
John Perceval
John de Burgh Perceval AO was a well-known Australian artist. Perceval was the last surviving member of a group known as the Angry Penguins who redefined Australian art in the 1940s...

 and Charles Blackman
Charles Blackman
Charles Blackman is one of the best known Australian artists still living today, especially for the famous Schoolgirl and Alice in Wonderland series of the 1950s...

.

Career



He was born at Murrumbeena, Victoria
Murrumbeena, Victoria
Murrumbeena is a suburb in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 13 km south-east from Melbourne's central business district. Its Local Government Area is the City of Glen Eira...

. Boyd had no formal training in painting and drawing, however he studied with his grandfather Arthur Merric Boyd
Arthur Merric Boyd
Arthur Merric Boyd was an Australian painter, and founder of the Boyd artistic dynasty.Boyd was born in Opoho, Dunedin, New Zealand, son of Captain John Theodore Thomas Boyd, formerly of County Mayo, Ireland, and his wife Lucy Charlotte, daughter of Dr Robert Martin of Heidelberg, Victoria...

, the New Zealand-born landscape painter and Merric Boyd, the Australian sculptor and studio potter. Early paintings were portraits and of seascapes of Port Phillip
Port Phillip
Port Phillip Port Phillip Port Phillip (also commonly referred to as Port Phillip Bay or (locally) just The Bay, is a large bay in southern Victoria, Australia; it is the location of Melbourne. Geographically, the bay covers and the shore stretches roughly . Although it is extremely shallow for...

 created while he was an adolescent, living in the suburbs of Melbourne. He moved to the inner city where he was influenced by his contact with European refugees. Reflecting this move in the late 1930s, his work moved into a distinct period of depictions of fanciful characters in urban settings.

In the 1940s he was a member of the Angry Penguins
Angry Penguins
Angry Penguins was an Australian literary and artistic avant-garde movement of the 1940s. The movement was stimulated by a modernist magazine of the same name published by the surrealist poet Max Harris, who founded the magazine in 1940, at the age of 18....

 artistic and literary group. His best-known work is perhaps his Half Caste Bride series in the 1950s, based on his contact with Aboriginal culture in Alice Springs in 1951. He represented Australia with Arthur Streeton
Arthur Streeton
Sir Arthur Ernest Streeton was an Australian landscape painter.-Early life:Streeton was born in Mount Duneed, near Geelong, and his family moved to Richmond in 1874. In 1882, Streeton commenced art studies with G. F. Folingsby at the National Gallery School.Streeton was influenced by French...

 at the Venice Biennale
Venice Biennale
The Venice Biennale is a major contemporary art exhibition that takes place once every two years in Venice, Italy. The Venice Film Festival is part of it. So too is the Venice Biennale of Architecture, which is held in even years...

 in 1958. He joined the Antipodeans Group
Antipodeans Group
-History:The Antipodeans group consisted of seven modern painters and the art historian Bernard Smith, who compiled The Antipodean Manifesto, a declaration fashioned from the artists' comments as a catalogue essay to accompany their exhibit....

 in the Whitechapel gallery.

He produced several series of works, including a collection of 15 biblical paintings based on the teaching of his mother, Doris Boyd
Doris Boyd
Doris Boyd was an Australian artist active as a painter. She married William Merric Boyd potter and painter. A member of the Boyd Family she was the mother of David Boyd, Guy Boyd and Arthur Boyd.References...

 née Gough. Later he produced a tempera
Tempera
Tempera, also known as egg tempera, is a permanent fast-drying painting medium consisting of colored pigment mixed with a water-soluble binder medium . Tempera also refers to the paintings done in this medium. Tempera paintings are very long lasting, and examples from the 1st centuries AD still exist...

 series about large areas of sky
Sky
The sky is the part of the atmosphere or outer space visible from the surface of any astronomical object. It is difficult to define precisely for several reasons. During daylight, the sky of Earth has the appearance of a pale blue surface because the air scatters the sunlight. The sky is sometimes...

 and land
Landscape
Landscape comprises the visible features of an area of land, including the physical elements of landforms such as mountains, hills, water bodies such as rivers, lakes, ponds and the sea, living elements of land cover including indigenous vegetation, human elements including different forms of...

, called the Wimmera series.

Avoiding the social issues raised in works such as Half Caste Child and feeling drawn to European styles of painting, Boyd moved to Hampstead, London in 1960. The same year he held his first London exhibition. While here, Boyd entered another distinct period with his works themed around the idea of metamorphosis
Metamorphosis
Metamorphosis is a biological process by which an animal physically develops after birth or hatching, involving a conspicuous and relatively abrupt change in the animal's body structure through cell growth and differentiation...

.

He started another well known series of works, Nebuchadnezzar, in 1966. This series was a statement of the human condition
Human condition
The human condition encompasses the experiences of being human in a social, cultural, and personal context. It can be described as the irreducible part of humanity that is inherent and not connected to gender, race, class, etc. — a search for purpose, sense of curiosity, the inevitability of...

 and is often considered to be his most beautiful.

He returned to Australia in 1971, as one of Australia's most highly regarded artists. In 1978 he bought properties and settled permanently at Bundanon
Bundanon
Bundanon is a large home near Nowra, New South Wales, Australia. It was the home of the painter Arthur Boyd.-Description and history:Bundanon started as a single-storey weatherboard structure built circa 1840. In 1866, a two-storey sandstone house, made of locally quarried stone, was built...

 on the Shoalhaven River
Shoalhaven River
The Shoalhaven River is a river rising from the Southern Tablelands and flowing into the ocean near Nowra on the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia.- History :...

. He donated this 1100-hectare property to the people of Australia in 1993. His creations now focused on the primeval natural settings found in the Australian bush and in later years explored the interplay between human land use
Land use
Land use is the human use of land. Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment or wilderness into built environment such as fields, pastures, and settlements. It has also been defined as "the arrangements, activities and inputs people undertake in a certain land cover...

 and natural wilderness
Wilderness
Wilderness or wildland is a natural environment on Earth that has not been significantly modified by human activity. It may also be defined as: "The most intact, undisturbed wild natural areas left on our planet—those last truly wild places that humans do not control and have not developed with...

. Boyd was enthralled by his position near the river and by the scale and moods of the valley landscape.

In 1975 he presented several thousand works to the National Gallery of Australia
National Gallery of Australia
The National Gallery of Australia is the national art gallery of Australia, holding more than 120,000 works of art. It was established in 1967 by the Australian government as a national public art gallery.- Establishment :...

. In 1979, he was named an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia
Order of Australia
The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, "for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service"...

.
In 1992 he was raised to the Companion level of the order (AC). He represented Australia at the Venice Biennale again in May 2000; his painting Dreaming Bridegroom I (1957) sold for $957,000. Another painting of the Bride series, Mourning Bride I (1958) has sold for $833,000. He is represented in all Australian state galleries.

In 1997 for the first time Arthur Boyd exhibited together with the six members of his artistic dynasty under one roof (brothers David and Guy, son Jamie, nieces Lenore and Tessa Perceval). The exhibition (Best of Boyd) comprised 80 paintings and 40 bronze sculptures. The exhibition was held in Galeria Aniela Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park, NSW. Documentary reviews were shown on the ABC TV Australian National News, 18 May 1997 and the ABC TV Sunday Afternoon, June 1997.

Boyd died in 1999, survived by his wife Yvonne Boyd née Lennie, and son Jamie and daughters Polly and Lucy.

Career highlights

  • 1958: Installation of sculpture at Olympic Swimming Pool, Melbourne, and represents Australia with Arthur Streeton at 1958 Venice Biennale
    Venice Biennale
    The Venice Biennale is a major contemporary art exhibition that takes place once every two years in Venice, Italy. The Venice Film Festival is part of it. So too is the Venice Biennale of Architecture, which is held in even years...

  • 1971: Awarded Creative Arts Fellowship at the Australian National University
    Australian National University
    The Australian National University is a teaching and research university located in the Australian capital, Canberra.As of 2009, the ANU employs 3,945 administrative staff who teach approximately 10,000 undergraduates, and 7,500 postgraduate students...

  • 1975: Donates major gift to the National Gallery of Australia - Several thousand works including pastels, sculptures, ceramics, etchings, tapestries, paintings and drawings
  • 1978: ABC/BBC co-production A Man of Two Worlds
  • 1979: Appointed an Order of Australia (AO) for Service to Arts
  • 1982: Donates Tuscan villa for an Australia Council Artist-in-residence program, and Sandra McGrath's 'The Artist and the River' published by Bay Books
  • 1984: Commissioned to design a tapestry for the Reception Hall at the new Parliament House and 16 canvasses for the Foyer of the Victorian Arts Centre
  • 1986: "Arthur Boyd in the Landscape" a film by Don Featherstone films on London's Weekend Television's South Bank Shows, and Ursula Hoff's "The Art of Arthur Boyd" published
  • 1988: Represents Australia at the 43rd Venice Biennale with eight major works; commissioned to paint Earth and Fire for the cover of the 28th November Time magazine for a special issue dealing with environmental conservation in Australia; and receives award as Irish-Australian of the Year
  • 1990: Patricia Dobrez and Peter Herbst's The Art of the Boyds published by Bay Books
  • 1992: Appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)
  • 1993: Prime Minister Paul Keating
    Paul Keating
    Paul John Keating was the 24th Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1991 to 1996. Keating was elected as the federal Labor member for Blaxland in 1969 and came to prominence as the reformist treasurer of the Hawke Labor government, which came to power at the 1983 election...

     announces the establishment of the Bundanon Trust, to accept the Bundanon gift from Arthur and Yvonne on behalf of the Australian Nation. The gift includes a property for the establishment of artist-in-residence programmes and several thousand works of art from five generations of Boyds, and other Australian artists
  • 1994: Donates copyright of all artwork and more property to Bundanon Trust, and Arthur Boyd at Bundanon published by Academy Editions
  • 1995: Prime Minister announces Arthur Boyd as Australian of the Year
    Australian of the Year
    Since 1960 the Australian of the Year Award has been part of the celebrations surrounding Australia Day , during which time the award has grown steadily in significance to become Australia’s pre-eminent award. The Australian of the Year announcement has become a very prominent part of the annual...

     for his contribution to Australian art and his generosity to the Australian people
  • 1998: Testament of a Painter documentary by Don Bennetts shown on ABC TV. Australia Post Australian Legends Award for 1998. Arthur has a series of postage stamps produced with his photo and examples of his work http://www.australianstamp.com/images/large/0034050.jpg. Australia Post awards the Australian Legend status to one Australian per year.

Technique


Boyd was a master at manipulating elements to express himself. He developed new techniques when he was still a teenager and later changed technique depending on his preferred style, media, location and what he was depicting.

He would often use loose strokes of thickly coated brushes. He applied paint with his fingers and palm because it is quicker, while the body contact directly connected him with the painting. He believed this allowed for a greater sense of freedom and pleasure from the act of painting.

Selected works


Arthur Boyd's subjects were often mythical, realistic, malformed people and monsters, depicting a tragic drama.
  • Creek near Rosebud 1937
  • The Seasons 1944
  • The Lovers 1944
  • David and Saul 1946
  • Wimmera Landscape 1950
  • Merric Boyd 1952
  • Half Cast Child 1957
  • Moses leading the People 1957
  • Lovers with a Bluebird 1962
  • Figure supporting Back Legs 1973
  • Riversdale Bushland 1976
  • Flood receding one Winter Evening 1981
  • Bathers Pulpit Rock 1985

External references


External links