Arthur Boyd

Arthur Boyd AC OBE (1920–1999), painter, potter and printmaker, was one of Australia’s greatest artists. Born in Murrumbeena, an outer suburb of Melbourne, Boyd’s mother and father were artists, as were his paternal grandparents. He began making paintings as a boy and briefly attended night classes at the National Gallery School in Melbourne, developing a vigorous and expressive style. During the Second World War he was conscripted into the Cartographic Unit of the Australian Army. Although he did not see active service, the war inspired paintings depicting a grotesque and unbalanced world.

In the 1960s, living mainly in England, Boyd embarked on ambitious cycles of paintings based on biblical and mythological themes in Australian bush settings, and designed theatre costumes and sets. Returning to Australia in the early 1970s, he bought a property on the Shoalhaven River on the south coast of New South Wales, Bundanon, where he continued to paint landscapes. Also known for his philanthropy, Boyd made an immense gift of his own work to the National Gallery of Australia in 1975; in 1993 he generously gifted Bundanon to the Australian people.

- National Portrait Gallery, AU