Australian painter, potter, printmaker
(b. 1920, Murrumbeena, Vic: d. 1999)
Arthur Boyd was one of Australia’s greatest painters. His reputation was also international. Born into a lineage of gifted painters, potters, musicians and architects, Arthur Boyd became the most recognised and lauded member of that illustrious artistic clan. Arthur Boyd grew up in what was then semi-rural Murrumbeena in Melbourne’s southeastern sand-belt. He spent his youth painting impressionist landscapes and portraits of the places and people around him.
Influential in Arthur Boyd's development were artists associated with art patrons, John and Sunday Reed at Heide on the outskirts of Melbourne near the Yarra River: Artists such as Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker and John Perceval were all involved in Heide and influenced each other. Perceval married Boyd’s sister Mary, who later divorced him and married Nolan. Influenced by German Expressionism, Surrealism and the northern European painting tradition, Arthur Boyd began painting dark works about urban deprivation overlayed with Old Testament narratives. He moved to England- he would only ever travel by boat - in 1959, achieving significant success there. He began to explore the medium of printmaking, producing etchings, lithographs and illustrated books. In 1979 the Boyds purchased a property, Bundanon on the Shoalhaven River.
Arthur Boyd’s Shoalhaven works were probably his most prolific and he alternated between the Shoalhaven property and the UK until he died in 1999. Bundanon was donated to the Australian Government and remains an artists’ retreat.
Sourced from McCulloch’s Encyclopedia of Australian Art. Used with permission. Copyright: McCulloch and McCulloch.