Among BOYD’s best-known pictorial creations is the 1940's image of the
dreaming of a Summer Night”, seen centrally here. For the artist, the form
encapsulated the Australian character as it fought to tame a wild and hostile
continent. In his paintings from the mid-1940s, such as this remarkable
composition, there begins to develop a curious disjunction between the
existential angst of these Antipodean masks.
Arthur BOYD forceful and energetic compositions continue to play a vital role in
our understanding and appreciation of Australian Modernism represents an
opportunity to acquire a influential work from one of Australia's most important
dreaming of a Summer Night’
is one of Boyd’s
expressionist surreal artworks of the war period in the 1940s when Australian
artists were torn amidst the reality of life, hope and dreams and the struggle
The Melbourne art scene was pulled away from the safe bush scenes began making
social comments through expressive art. Urban hardships were the realities of
the day, and the war brought home surreal experiences. Boyd was conscripted in
1941 and served with the Cartographic Unit until 1944, and Boyd believed that
war and violence are unjustifiable.
Arthur Boyd expressionistic paintings include images of ‘Lovers dreaming of a
Summer Night’ along with painful images of cripples, the dispossessed and the
Arthur Boyd's original, deeply expressive, surreal work is a lasting testament
to Boyd uniquely humanist vision.
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expressionist painter, ceramicist,
potter and printmaker from a family of artists. BOYD aimed to convey an inner
emotional vision through his work, rather than describing the external world.
Arthur BOYD is
considered one of Australia’s most significant modern artists was born in
1920, and was taught by his grandfather, prominent painter Arthur Merric BOYD.
He served in the Second World War and his experiences influenced the subsequent
themes of psychological anguish and suffering in his work.
Following the war
he became friends with art patrons John and Sunday Reid. BOYD and his family
lived and exhibited in London during the 1960s. He returned to Australia in the
1970s and lived at properties in Shoalhaven and Bundanon, areas which he painted
until his death in 1999.
retrospective of his work was held in 1994 at the Art Gallery of New South
Wales. BOYD received an Order of Australia in 1979 and Companion of the
Order of Australia in 1992.
painted lyrical and emotive allegories on universal themes of love, loss and
shame, often located in the Australian bush. These artworks draw on a wealth of
literary and mythological sources as well as intensely personal and often
ambiguous symbolism. BOYD had a strong social conscience and his paintings
engage deeply with humanitarian issues.
night classes at the National Gallery School in Melbourne in 1935 and was taught
by his parents, Merric and Doris BOYD at their home in Murrumbeena, Victoria.
At age 14 he
went to live with and learn from his grandfather, Arthur Merric BOYD, on the
Mornington Peninsula. He was influenced by his contact with the Jewish immigrant
artist Yosl Bergner, who introduced BOYD to such writers as Dostoyevsky and
the Cartographic Unit of the army in 1942 during the Second World War, BOYD did
not see active service, but the war supplied the subject matter for his
paintings of the 1940s, which featured the crippled and wounded in turbulent
settings. After the war he established the Arthur Merric BOYD Pottery Workshop
at Murrumbeena, with John Perceval and Peter Herbst.
In the late
1940s BOYD turned to the Bible as a way of expressing the horror and suffering
of war. Paintings such as
1947-48 draw on biblical narratives of punishment and depict nature as an
overwhelming force controlling the individual.
During the 1940s his work went through several phases including the
painting of a large mural at the home of his uncle, Martin BOYD, at Harkaway
near Berwick, Victoria. A series of landscapes of north-west Victoria, a nine
metre ceramic sculpture he built in Melbourne for the Olympic Games swimming
pool in 1955 and he celebrated his 'Half-Caste Bride' series painted 1957-59
after an earlier visit to Central Australia.
Travelling around central
Australia in the 1950s he was shocked by the conditions in which
Aboriginal people were living in Alice Springs. This experience
initiated the Love, marriage and
death of a half-caste series of 31 paintings, also known as
The bride, which imagined
the figure of an Aboriginal person of mixed descent as a neglected
outsider. The series was exhibited in Melbourne in 1958 where it
raised contentious issues about the ongoing marginalisation of
associated with the Antipodeans, a group of painters founded in 1959 and
championed by art historian Bernard Smith, who attempted to promote figurative
art at a time when abstract painting and sculpture was in the ascendancy. The
group had an exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, and in 1959 BOYD
relocated to London with his family, where he remained until 1971. Despite his
English location, BOYD continued to depict Australian subjects, locating his
allegorical and mythical scenes in Australian bush settings (
prize winning film was made in Melbourne about his 'Half-Caste
Bride' series by Tim Burstall and Patrick Ryan in 1959. During the
1960s he lived mostly with his family in London, exhibited widely
and established an international reputation including a Romeo and
Juliet ceramic Triptych in 1964 to honour Shakespears's 400 year
In 1971 he returned to
Australia, eventually settling at Bundanon on the Shoalhaven River
in New South Wales where he continued to paint landscapes. His
paintings of the 1980s explored constructions of Australian identity
in the lead up to the bicentenary of the arrival of the First Fleet
in 1988. With their violent imagery and aggressive colouring they
draw on archetypes of Australian military history to suggest the
futility of war. In addition to painting, BOYD worked prolifically
in ceramics, designed sets for the theatre, and provided
illustrations for the poems of Australian poet Peter Porter.
During 1971-72 for six months at ANU, Canberra, as a resident Fellow
in Creative Arts.
In 1975 he presented a large collection of sculptures, etchings and
paintings to the ANG Canberra and in 1984 was commissioned to design the
tapestry for the reception hall at new Parliament House, Canberra. Worked in UK
for part of 1989-90.
During the 70's Arthur BOYD exhibited Shoalhaven series small paintings at
and Fischer Fine Art London. Fischer went on to become one of the founders of Malborough Fine Art
in 1946. These
oils are now rare highly priced gems, keenly sought after by Australian and
international collectors on the World Art market.
1978, Arthur BOYD permanently settled at his home on the
Over the years, Arthur BOYD befriended the formidable landscape, painting scenes
of the Shoalhaven River and the surrounding bushland. In a second part of BOYD's
painting career from
the late 70’s, BOYD landscape works were based mostly on the Shoalhaven River.
This resulted in a significant series of paintings that are expression of Arthur
BOYD love for Australian landscape.
paintings are not simply landscapes but a fusion of Australian history and the
key in the artist development. The ABC TV & BBC TV co-produced the documentary
film, A Man of Two Worlds, based on BOYD's life and work.
1993, Arthur BOYD gave to the people of Australia the family properties
comprising 1,100 hectares (2,700 acres) at
At the beginning of 1975
Arthur BOYD return to Australia from England,
lived for a year on the banks of the Shoalhaven River in New South Wales. The
paintings in this collection were conceived during that year.
The imagery of landscape echoes BOYD
the subsequent Diana and Actaeon series of 1961.
BOYD began, with the ongoing stimulus of Porter's poetry, to introduce
the moral narrative to the set.
At the same time, in 1976, BOYD work on the Shoalhaven landscape, with its riverbank and
reflecting pools under Pulpit Rock.
In 1984 Arthur and Yvonne BOYD left London to Australia and, more specifically,
to their property Bundanon,
Shoalhaven River. However
BOYD's joy at
re-discovering the Australian landscape was tempered with a distressing
awareness of the careless treatment of the natural environment by reckless and
BOYD was a practical environmentalist who, together with
Sidney Nolan, had fought to stop sand-dredging near Riversdale on the Shoalhaven
The artist is recorded as saying:
"I think Australians have been apt to believe
that because this was such a vast land, they couldn't make a mark on it.
mark has been made and if it continues at this rate, it will soon be too
(Arthur BOYD, cited in J McKenzie, Arthur BOYD Art & Life,
London, 2000, p.169).
Thus while the subject matter of
Bather series followed a long established western art historical tradition, BOYD's rendering of this theme was imbued with both personal and contemporary
environmental concerns, as Hoff noted in the following extract:
"BOYD's NOW in bathers, which had not occupied him since the early fifties
was revived by Cézanne's Bathers in the London, National Gallery.
idyllic and secluded beach, far from the city, which Conder and Streeton had
made popular, is replaced by the beach in the technological age.
speedboats, raucous cries of a hedonistic mob break the calm of nature.
BOYD owes to Cézanne is the considered build-up of the figures into a frieze
The stunning effect of the huge painting rests on the contrast between hot
tints, large forms of a crowd and the beauty of
the natural world.
Above the garish human turmoil rises the impressive, timeless
Luminous cumulus clouds scud across the deep blue sky.
Elwyn Lynn, "the work is the epitome of the creative continuity
of Arthur BOYD's art."
(U Hoff, op.cit, p.81). Curtsey: Sotheby's catalogue, 23
PHOTO: Aniela Kos
and ARTHUR BOYD,
Aniela won the trust of one of the most important Australian
Series of paintings have always
been recognized as outstanding contributions to the Australian
art of their time.
Transcending social issues and cultural
commentary, Arthur BOYD created series of paintings that are
without doubt a key group of paintings in the history of
Australian art and in Arthur BOYD's development as an artist.
This resulted in one of the
most significant series of ‘Shoalhaven
paintings that are not simply landscapes but rather, a fusion of
BOYD's European and Australian backgrounds.
based on the Shoalhaven River
in the series is absolutely
unique. The precise number of Arthur BOYD paintings produced in
the series is unknown nonetheless every painting in each
individual series is unquestionably unique.
During the latter part of BOYD's painting career,
works were based on the Shoalhaven River, the series most prized
by the public.
Oil on Copper
at Australian Galleries in
and Fischer Fine Art London
in 1977. Now these exquisitely
painted highly valued, rare gems are keenly sought after
in world Art
BOYD had a strong relationship with the Shoalhaven River
landscape. The Shoalhaven River was the constant source of
inspiration for BOYD's work. From
the 70’s BOYD painted landscapes on the Shoalhaven River. This
resulted in a significant series of
paintings that are
without doubt a key group of paintings in the
history of Australian art and in BOYD's development as an
artist. There is no precise number of BOYD's works in
series however each
artwork based on the Shoalhaven River
is absolutely unique. In 1979 the
ABC TV and BBC TV co-produced the television documentary film,
built on Arthur BOYD life and
In 1979 the
ABC TV and BBC TV co-produced the television documentary film,
built on Arthur BOYD life and
is one of the most expensive pigments as
the plant cultivation was decreased from 1911.
Available in Oils, Rose Madder is an excellent glazing pigment.
natural organic lake pigment
was first used as a dye for fabrics as the evidence (of its us) can be found in
ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian cloths as far back as 1500 BC. Cloth dyed with
madder root pigment was even found in the tomb of Tutankhamun
Rose Madder is
very distinctive rose coloured
pigment is made from the roots of the madder plant,
The pulverised roots can be dissolved in
which leaves a dye called
name for madder) after drying. Another method of increasing the yield consisted
of dissolving the roots in sulfuric acid after they had been used for dyeing.
This produces a dye called
By treating the pulverized roots with alcohol,
was produced. It contained 40–50 times the amount of
of the roots.The roots contain the acid
By drying, fermenting or a treatment with acids, this is changed to sugar,
which were first isolated by the French chemist
Pierre Jean Robiquet
in 1826. Purpurin is normally not coloured, but is red when dissolved in
alkaline solutions. Mixed with clay and treated with
it gives a brilliant red colourant (madder
Considered one of the best quality natural pigments, it was well sought after
and was brought to Europe by the crusaders.
By the 13th century, it was being cultivated across Europe, notably in the
Netherlands as their sandy soil provided a favourable environment for the plant.
However, the production of madder dye was costly and by
1860, Great Britain was importing madder at the value of £1.25 million a year.
It was necessary to find a better, more reliable method
making of the pigment. The renowned colourist George Field made extensive study
of the madder plant and in 1804 discovered a more efficient process of
extracting the dye and making a stronger, more vibrant pigment. William
understood the importance of George Field’s research and acquired Fields’ notes
and experiments following his death in 1854. These 10 volumes formed a basis of
some of the colour recipes for the then newly founded Winsor & Newton Company.
The production of Rose Madder is still based on the
recipes of George Fields, which
Winsor & Newton
have exclusive access to and remains a unique pigment with varying shades of
rose, browns and purples that cannot be duplicated. Though alizarin (a dye
derived from madder) was later synthesised in the 19th century making it far
more affordable, the two colours should not be compared. Rose Madder retains a
soft depth and richness unlike any other rose available. It
is a transparent pigment with granulating properties.
Madder was employed medicinally in ancient
civilizations and in the middle ages.
in 1597, wrote of it as having been cultivated in many gardens in his day, and
describes its many supposed virtues of
action which madder may possess. Its most remarkable
effect was found to be that of colouring red the
of animals fed upon it, as also the
of birds. This appears to be due to the chemical affinity of
for the colouring matter. This property was used to enable physiologists to
ascertain the manner in which bones develop, and the functions of the various
found in growing bone.
After ten years in Europe where he built his international profile
as a figurative modernist Australian artist, Arthur BOYD and his
family returned to Australia and purchased the famous property at
Bundanon on the Shoalhaven River in 1978.
From that point on, he set
about painting the immense power of the formidable river landscape
– the strength of the land, the river in flood, the passage of
twilight, and the almost heraldic image of Pulpit Rock – generally
imbued with allegorical narratives of the human condition.
Shoalhaven at Sunset
is a jewel-like
(from the period of the artist greatest artistic acclaim), painted with the colours of
the oil paint reflected from an underlying copper surface, giving it
This makes the
sunset colours seem heightened, more sensual, but that would be for
any viewer who had not been to the Shoalhaven and experienced the
intensity of light over the river at sunset. BOYD captures a deeply
spiritual experience philosophically tied to notions of
sustainability: he strove lifelong for the preservation of the bush
landscape for future generations.
BOYD’s sunset image shows a white cockatoo coming alive,
turning, squawking, descending, as day turns to night. It twists high above the
basalt layers of the riverbank.
It is here that the river gums stand above the
waterline, straining for water in days of endless drought. BOYD marks his belief
in the sustainability of this environment with a foreground triangular structure
of rocks and trees, like a strong abiding haven for the descending cockatoo. Professor Peter James Smith BSc (Hons); Msc; M Stats;
MFA; Phd. November 3, 2013
archival oil-on-copper-plate painting technique
been used by artists for hundreds of years with stunning results. Oil-on-copper plate painting
allows superior clarity and
brilliance of colour.
The reason Oil-on-copper-plate
archival because unlike canvas or board, copper plate
painting with a smooth archival surface
assures archival quality
that can be easily restored
painting on copper is a different experience than painting on canvas or board.
The technique exposes artists to many
and the Copper Plate must be
for that reason contemporary artists seldom use
oil-on-copper-plate painting technique.
A master painter
Arthur BOYD 1920-1999 exhibited
oil-on-copper plate paintings in Australian Galleries
Melbourne (1976) and at Fischer Fine Art London (1977). Now these
exquisite oil-on-copper are
highly priced rare gems, keenly sought after by the World Art market
1. Cut Substrate for Copper Plate. To prepare copper plate as an archival
surface, the artist first cut a solid substrate to glue to the back of the
copper plate. This will prevent bending, denting or any other major movement
that would cause the painting to crack. The artist must choose flat,
medium-density fiberboard and cut it to just under the size of the copper plate.
2. Roughen the Back of the Copper
Plate. The artists sands the backside
of the copper plate with coarse sandpaper or scratch grooves into the metal.
This roughening helps the glue adhere to the surface while keeping the
protective plastic on the front of the copper plate.
3. Remove Dust from the Copper Plate.
To further ensure a good bond, the artist cleans off the sanded backside of the
copper with denatured alcohol.
5. Tape the Copper Plate to the
Substrate. To ensure a good bond
between the surfaces the artist tape the board to the copper.
6. Apply Weight to Copper Plate and
Substrate. To ensure that the backing
does not slip to one side or the other while drying. The artist must
not come in contact with the copper plate.
7. Seal the Substrate.
When the glue has set, the artists seals the MDF with a wood sealer to prevent
warping or other damage from water penetration.
8. Sand and Clean the Front of the
Copper Plate. The artists removes the
plastic protection from the front of the copper plate and, while wearing a
particle dust mask and nitrile gloves, sand the surface with fine-grit
sandpaper, taking great care to sand the entire surface thoroughly. If the
artist wants a beveled edge on the copper plate, he sands the edges of the plate
with a file or a block wrapped in sand paper. Once the sanding is completed, the
artist cleans the surface with denatured alcohol and a clean cotton rag or paper
towels. The artists keep clean nitrile gloves on during this process to ensure
that the oils of your skin.
9. Etch the Copper Plate With Garlic
Juice. Once the surface is clean, the
artist may remove the particle dust mask and take the plate into the studio.
Then the artist cut a clove of garlic and rub it’s juice onto the painting
surface or use a brush to apply a thin layer of pure garlic juice onto the
surface. Usually several garlic cloves are required and a razor blade on a plate
nearby so, after covering a few square inches, the artist can slice or reslice a
clove for fresh garlic juice. The garlic juice etches the surface of the copper
and allows for a chemical bond to the lead in your primer and/or the lead in
white; this is in addition to the mechanical bond that sanding alone would
10. Paint on the Prepared Copper
Plate. The artist may paint on the
freshly dried, garlic-juice-rubbed copper surface right away with pure oil paint
or apply primer to create a silky smooth white surface for paint application.
Artist use lead white either when priming the surface of the copper or in the
initial layers of the painting because the lead in the paint will chemically
bond to the copper, further ensuring that the paint will have good adhesion to
If painting directly onto the copper plate, artist covers all areas with paint
as exposed copper will eventually change color.
Then again, painting on
colour from the underlying copper
brilliant intensity of glowing light and its
and making it heightened.
How to Prime a Copper
Plate. Priming is
traditional when painting on copper plate. To do this, the artist
applies two coats of very thin lead-based oil primer to the surface.
The artist must keep these layers smooth and thin by rubbing on a
small amount of the lead primer with the gloved palm of your hand.
If artist wish for a smoother surface, after the primer is dry, can
carefully wet sand the surface with oil and fine-grit sandpaper.
Signed Lower right
Since the 70’s
Arthur BOYD has painted landscapes on the Shoalhaven River. This resulted in a significant
series of Shoalhaven
paintings that are without doubt
a key group of paintings in the history of Australian art and in BOYD's
development as an artist. There is no precise number of BOYD's works in
artwork based on the Shoalhaven River is absolutely
unique. In 1979 the
ABC TV and BBC TV co-produced the television documentary film, built on Arthur
BOYD life and
Arthur BOYD had a strong
relationship with the Shoalhaven River landscape. The Shoalhaven
River was the constant source of inspiration for BOYD's work.
Arthur BOYD has given his beloved home located on the Shoalhaven River
Bundanon to Australian people.