Born Melbourne, Australia 1920, died Melbourne 1999
Arthur Merric Bloomfield Boyd is one of Australia’s best known artists, and was a prodigious painter, printmaker and ceramicist.
Born into one of Australia’s most famous artistic dynasties, he developed his natural skills by working alongside members of his family, particularly his grandfather, Arthur Merric, and through intermittent study at the National Gallery School, Melbourne (1935–36).
Early metaphorical works which gained recognition drew on Boyd’s experiences of war and suffering, the Australian landscape, his interest in Aboriginal history and culture, and his knowledge of the Bible and literature. He subsequently spent many years in London and was included in the Whitechapel and Tate exhibitions of Australian art in 1961 and 1962.
From the 1980s onwards the Shoalhaven and Bundanon areas on the New South Wales south coast were Boyd’s dominant source of inspiration. His initial landscapes of Shoalhaven were highly detailed, but later became freer, moving between naturalistic renderings and expressionistic interpretations containing symbols and figures. His love of the pristine beauty of this area inspired him to paint what he called his ‘straight’ paintings of the 1980s; images evoking the spirit of the site without reference to metaphor.
Boyd’s work has been included in many significant exhibitions of Australian art and a major retrospective was presented by the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1993. His work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia, all state galleries and many regional and university collections.