David Boyd

David Boyd 1924 to 2011, sadly in November 2011 the passing of Australian legendry artist David Boyd was announced, a loss of another great Australian Artist with a solid following in Oil paintings etchings and prints, David brought a wonderful presence to the world to share with us all, he will be sadly missed.

David Boyd was born in Melbourne in 1924, he is a figurative painter, ceramic sculptor and potter.

David Boyd’s art stems from a long family tradition of artistic talent. Acclaimed as a potter in the fifties and sixties, he began his career as a painter in 1957 with a series of symbolic paintings on Australian explorers. Since then, David Boyd has painted several major series of works, including his powerful Trial series, the Tasmanian Aborigines, the Wanderer and Exiles series.and his Explorer series.

Following the success of his career with oil paintings David Boyd started to release successfully limited edition fine art etchings and prints.

Picturing innocence and evil, destruction and creation, his works convey mythical and universal themes. Having won significant international recognition, David Boyd was invited by the Commonwealth Institute of Art, London, to hold a retrospective of paintings at their Art Gallery in 1969. The introduction to the catalogue written by Professor Bernard Smith the then Professor of Contemporary Art in the University of Sydney summed up the work and position of David Boyd in the Australian art scene when he wrote:-

“This exhibition represents a personal victory over fashion. For ten years David Boyd has painted against the current mainstream and for ten years Australian critics subjected his art to severe criticism. But during the last twelve months or so the hostility has weakened; revised opinions are beginning to appear. What was really at issue was not so much the quality of the paintings as the validity of his position.. Moral values, the human condition, might well have inspired so it was argued, great art in the past. But painting had now exhausted these positions. They were no longer available for the artist of the nineteen sixties. The criticism has not mattered much. David Boyd has continued to paint in his own personal manner and to find an audience and a growing market for his art in Australia and Britain. He has found that there is still a place for a moral painter.” (The Art of David Boyd, Nancy Benko, Hyde Park Press 1973)

Boyd is a world class artist whose work always causes a definite emotional reaction from his public. Always true to his thoughts and feelings he remains a distinguished Australian artist.

David Boyd is represented in the Australian National Gallery, Canberra; all State and many regional galleries; the Mertz collection, USA; the Power collection, Sydney; and many major international galleries and private collections in Australia and overseas.

Here is more detailed information of where some of David Boyd art collections are being held:

Australian War Memorial, Canberra; Queensland University, Brisbane; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; Ballarat Art Gallery, Ballarat, Victoria; Sydney University (Law Faculty), Sydney; Harold Mertz Collection of Australian Paintings, United States of America; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; Lincolnshire and South Humberside Arts, Usher Gallery, Lincloln, England, Fine Arts Department, University of Melbourne; National gallery, Canberra; Adelaide Art Teachers College, Adelaide, SA; Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Law School, University of Melbourne; Newcastle Region Art Gallery; New South Wales; University of New South Wales; Sydney University Power Collection; Bendigo Art Gallery; Graylands College, Perth, Western Australia; National Gallery of Victoria; The University of Adelaide, South Australia; Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales; Bundanon Trust, Nowra, New South Wales; Macquarie University, New South Wales; National Gallery of Victoria, Adam and Eve; Art Gallery Of Western

The Legend of “Europa and the Cockatoo” – By David Boyd

The Legend of Europa and the Cockatoo is dedicated to my brother, Arthur Boyd, in appreciation of his generosity to the Australian people and his affection for cockatoos.” – David Boyd, 1995 “Unlike the various Trial series of paintings which used the visual language to express ideas about a fundamental and disturbing feature of the human condition, The Legend of Europa and the Cockatoos are presented as an entertaining parable. The following background notes may be of interest to people curious about how the series evolved. Late in 1994 I was working on some pastels called Music and the Angels. Because of the wings and the expression on the faces of the angel musicians, the pastels evoked the spirit of the Baroque rather than the exhilarating frenzy of 20th century rock music. Suddenly in December, following the opening of the new second north south runway and the closure of the main east west at Sydney Airport, the roar of jet aircraft ascending north in increasing frequency above my studio or the whining scream as they approached to land, completely drown the music of the angels. Putting aside their instruments they gazed sadly upwards or out of the picture. I have kept the angel that first appeared thus. It is called “Angel Listening to the Roar of Jets over Sydney Australia”. The painting belongs to the artists collection, on occasion is included, on loan, to selected exhibitions. What has does the above got to do with a winged figure chasing cockatoos? An idea can have its genesis in unexpected ways. Since boyhood I had not given a great deal of thought to airplanes, but now with huge jet machines constantly roaring overhead it become impossible to ignore this wonder of modern technology. To draw or paint pictures of the things would keep their menacing shape in the forefront of the mind; it happened that waiting amongst a stack of pencil drawings from the 1960’s was a sketch of a winged figure running through the bush land. The title, “Europa Fleeing from a Bushfire”, instantly kindled an idea. Why not! I thought. There is a link there, remote from jumbo jets but enough to set the imagination on fire. Using the drawings as reference I painted a winged figure running to gain speed, as a pelican does before rising. There followed other pictures of a related configuration – such as Europa falling above an inland sea or leaning against the rough back of a wombat while star gazing. At night she dreams that she is frolicking with the cockatoos. Sometimes her dreams are hounded by a sacred golden-plumed wombat sitting on her belly or the rarely seen black cockatoo. Her days are fully occupied chasing sulphur crested white cockatoos. Europa has fashioned herself a pair of solid gold wings but the weight of them prevents her from flying. She pursues the cockatoos because she believes their crests are made of the purest gold. She is convinced that if she captures the birds and enlarges her wings with their crests she will achieve the exhilarating freedom of flight. Europa is not successful until, from a hiding place in a wattle tree, she preys on the unsuspecting birds, grasping their crests when they fly close. Over a period of the hundred and seven years she gradually enlarges her wings. Alas, with each new crest she adds to the wings the heaver they become. The day arrives when she can no longer run or even move for she is crushed beneath the weight of her now mighty gold wings.

David Boyd (b. 1924)

Chronological events

1924        David Boyd was born in Murrumbeena, Melbourne. Third and youngest

son of artists Merric and Doris Boyd. Studied pottery and painting within

the family circle and also the piano. Entered the Melba Memorial

Conservatorium of Music at 17

1942        Joined Contempory Art Society of Australia. Conscripted into Australian

Army

1944-46   Studied at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and the National

Gallery School on an ex-serviceman’s grant. First exhibition of paintings

with John Yule at the Rowden White Library, University of Melbourne.

In partnership with brother Guy Boyd founded Martin Boyd pottery in

Sydney

1947        Painting expedition in New Caledonia with author Hugh Atkinson

1948-49   Married Hermia Lloyd-Jones, younger daughter of graphic artist Herman

(Jonah) and Erica Lloyd-Jones. Began pottery career with Hermia.

First exhibition of pottery in Sydney

1950-55   Established pottery studios in London and in the South of France joined

for a time by ceramist and painter Stanislaw Halpern. Travelled widely

throughout Spain. Returned to Australia

1956        David and Hermia Boyd became widely known as leading Australian

potters. Introduced new techniques in glazing and the use of the potters

wheel in shaping sculptural figures. Greatly influenced local potters in

particular Tom Sanders and John Perceval. Major exhibition of ceramic

tiles and sculptures at the Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne

1957-58   Commenced painting ‘The Explorer’ series, exhibited at the Australian

Galleries, Melbourne, and Clune Galleries, Sydney

1959        Started a series of paintings based upon the extinction of the full blood

Tasmanian Aboriginal in the nineteenth century. Took part in issuing the

Antipodean manifesto with Blackman, Arthur Boyd, Brack, Dickerson,

Perceval, Pugh and B. Smith defending the figurative image in

contemporary painting in a joint exhibition in Melbourne. Exhibited

‘The Explorers and The Tasmanians’ in Adelaide

1960        Commenced a series of paintings on the theme of ‘Law and Justice,

The Trial series’. Elected President of the Contemporary Art Society

(Victorian branch), Councillor of the Museum of Modern Art of Australia

1961        First prize Italian Art Scholarship for Australia. Chairman of the Federal

Council of the Contemporary Art Society of Australia

1962        Lived in Rome, continuing ‘The Trial’ series, before returning to England.

Settled in London

1963        First one-man exhibitions in London and Paris of ‘The Trial’ paintings

1964        Revisited Spain and painted ‘Church and State’ series based upon this                visit

1965        One-man exhibitions in London and in Australia of ‘Church and State’

1966        Discovered method of using candle flame to create images and named

the technique Sfumato, a word used by Leonardo da Vinci to describe

graduations of a misty tone in painting (although there is no evidence

that Leonardo used a candle flame to achieve this effect)

1967-69   Exhibited Sfumato paintings in London and in Australia, including

Newcastle, New South Wales. Exhibited late Sfumato

and ‘Limbo’ paintings in Adelaide, South Australia. ‘War Games’ in

Sydney, NSW. Visited Boyd Town at Twofold Bay, south coast of New

South Wales. Commenced a series of paintings, ‘The Wanderer’, inspired

by the life of Benjamin Boyd, an Australian adventurer of the 1840s.

Retrospective exhibition of loaned works from various collections in

Australia and Britain at Commonwealth Institute Art Gallery, London,

Edinburgh and Sheffield

1970                Settled in south of France.

1971                First exhibition of Wanderer series was in Adelaide at the

Festival of Arts South Australia. Next at von Bertouch Galleries,

Newcastle

1971        Exhibited ‘The Wanderer’ series in separate sections in three concurrent

London exhibition’s started a series based on mythological ‘Orchard of

Heaven’, first exhibited in Brisbane, Queensland. Visited Australia

1972        Developed theme of ‘The Orchard’ and exhibited series

entitled ‘The Garden in the Wilderness’ in Newcastle, New South Wales.

1973        Commenced the ‘Exiles’ series which formed the latest inclusion in the exhibition.

David returned to France. Developed the theme, ‘The Exiles’

1973        Exhibited ‘The Exiles’ series in London and in Melbourne, Victoria

1974        Retrospective exhibition at Skinner Galleries, Perth, Festival of Arts

1975        Returned to Australia. Retrospective exhibition at

von Bertouch Galleries, Newcastle, NSW

1976        Retrospective exhibition at Bonython Gallery, Sydney

1977        Commenced series ‘The Private View’

1978        Developed theme of ‘The Private View’

1979-82   David had Major retrospective exhibitions, Albert Hall,

Canberra. Painted a series of works entitled ‘The Day of the Picnic’

1983        ‘Retrospective Exhibition 1957-82’, a series of seven exhibitions,

Wagner Art Gallery, Sydney

1985        Exhibition ‘Four Seasons’, Wagner Art Gallery, Sydney

1986        Exhibited ‘A Judge in the Landscape’ series, Hong Kong; Wagner Art

Gallery, Sydney; von Bertouch Galleries, Newcastle

1987        Exhibition ‘Requiem for the Birth of a Nation’, Wagner Art Gallery,                Sydney

1988        Exhibition ‘Antipodean Second Chapter’, Lauraine Diggins Fine Arts,

Melbourne; Lanyon Gallery, Canberra

1989        S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, ‘Antipodean Second Chapter’

1990        Dedicated to Merric and Doris Boyd, Wagner Art Gallery, Sydney

1991-92   ‘The Clown in the Tree’ series

1992        Survey retrospective exhibitions Wagner Gallery, Sydney; Caulfield Art

Complex, Melbourne; Macquarie University, Sydney; Beaver Galleries,

Sydney, Canberra

1993-94   ‘Metaphors of Trial’ series, von Bertouch Galleries, Newcastle

1995        ‘The Legend of Europa and the Cockatoos’, Eva Breuer Art Dealer,

Sydney

1996        ‘Europa in Australia’, von Bertouch Galleries, Newcastle

1996-97   ‘Driftwood’ and the ‘Hierarchy’ series, von Bertouch Galleries; Wagner

Gallery, Sydney

1998        Music and the Angels, Galeria Aniela, Kangaroo Valley

1999        Survey retrospective, von Bertouch Galleries, Newcastle

2001        Reconciliation, Eva Breuer Art Dealer, Sydney, NSW

 

Appointments and Awards

 

1960        President of the Contemporary Art Society (Victorian branch)

1960        Elected Councillor of the Museum of Modern Art of Australia

1961        First Prize Italian Art Scholarship for Australian Chairman of the Federal

Council of the Contemporary Art Society of Australia.

1993-96   Artist in residence School of Law, Macquarie University, NSW

1998        MEMBRO ALBO DORO DEL SENATO ACCADEMICO – International

Academy of Modern Art, Rome, Italy

 

Selected Bibliography

 

Bonython, K. Modern Australian painting and Sculpture, Griffin Press, Adelaide, 1960

Bonython, K. Modern Australian Painting 1960-1970, with introduction by Ross K. Luck, Rigby Limited, Adelaide, 1970

Boyd, Martin, Day of my Delight, Lansdowne Press Pty Ltd, Melbourne, 1965

Burr, James & Williams, Sheldon, Sfumato Paintings and Drawings of David Boyd (monograph). Ritchie Dickson Limited, London, 1967

Finlay, D. J. Modern Australian Painting, Beaverbrook Newspapers Limited, London, 1963

Hood, K., Pottery, Longmans, Melbourne, 1961

Luck, Ross K, The Australian Painters, 1964-66

The Mertz Collection, Griffin Press, Adelaide, 1966

Luck, Ross K., Modern Australian Painting, Sun Books, Melbourne, 1969

Parr, Lenton, Sculpture, Longmons, Melbourne, 1961

Pringle, J. D., Australian Painting Today, Thames & Hudson, London, 1963

Smith, Bernard, Australian Painting 1788-1960, and revised edition 1788-1970, Oxford University Press, 1962

Smith, Bernard, Australian Painting Today, University of Queensland Press, 1962

Osborne, Harold (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Art, Oxford University Press, 1970

Benko, Nancy, The Art of David Boyd (monograph), Hyde Park Press, Adelaide, 1973 (with foreward by Judith Wright)

Craig, Edward D., Australian Art Auction Records 1973-75, Ure Smith, Sydney, 1975

Vader, John, The Pottery and Ceramics of David and Hermia Boyd, Mathews/Hutchinson, Sydney, 1977

Benezit, E., Dictionaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Librairie Grand Paris, 1976

Smith, Bernard, Catalogue, David Boyd Retrospective Exhibition, Commonwealth Institute, London, 1969

Marginson, Ray, Catalogue of the Melbourne University Art Collection, 1971

The Antipodean Manifesto, catalogue of Antipodean Exhibition, Melbourne, 1959

Recent Australian Painting, Whitechapel Gallery, 1961

Commonwealth Art Today, Commonwealth Institute, London, 1962

Craig, Edward D., Australian Art Auction Records 1976-1978, Rigby, 1979

Scarlett, Ken, Australian Sculptors, Nelson, 1980

Germaine, Max, Artists and Galleries of Australia and New Zealand, Landsdown, 1979 & 1984

Craig, Edward D., Australian Art Auction Records, Currawong Press, New South Wales, 1982

Craig, Edward D., Australian Art Auction Records – Australian Art Sales, 1987-1989

Fry, Gavin & Gray, Anne, Masterpieces of the Australian War Memorial, Rigby, 1982

Dolan, David, Charles Bannon: Australian Printmaker: An Aspect of Australian art 1968-1982, Angus and Robertson

Smith, Bernard, The Critic as Advocate, Oxford, 1989

Dbrez, Patricia & Herbst, Peter, The Art of the Boyds, Bay Books, New South Wales, 1991

Craig, Edward D., ‘Australian Art Auctions Records 1989-1991’ Vol 7 Australian Art Sales, NSW, 1991

Merric Boyd Studio Potter 1888-1959 Victoria, Hammond, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1990

von Bertouch, Anne, What Was It…, Hunnifords Lane Press, Newcastle, 1989-90

Arnold, John & Morris, Dierdre (eds.), Monash Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Australia, Reed Reference Publishing, 1994

Furby, Paula & Snowden, Betty, The University of Adelaide Art Collections, University of Adelaide, S.A., 1995

Art and Law, vol. 20, no. 2, April 1995, Monash University, Victoria

From Vision to Sesquicentenary, The University of Sydney, 1999

Amadio, Nadine, Introduction to catalogue, Reconciliation, Eva Breuer Art Dealer, Sydney, 2001

 

Paintings:

Australian War Memorial, Canberra

Queensland University, Brisbane

Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Ballarat Art Gallery, Ballarat, Victoria

Sydney University (Law Faculty), Sydney

Harold Mertz Collection of Australian Paintings, USA

Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane

Lincolnshire and South Humberside Arts, Usher Gallery, Lincoln, England

Fine Arts Department, University of Melbourne

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Adelaide Art Teachers College, Adelaide, SA

Monash University, Melbourne

Law School, University of Melbourne

Newcastle Regional Art Gallery

University of New South Wales, Sydney

Sydney University Power Collection

Bendigo Art Gallery

Graylands College, Perth, Western Australia

National Gallery of Victoria

The University of Adelaide, South Australia

Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales

Bundanoon Trust, Nowra, New South Wales

Macquarie University, New South Wales

 

Drawings:

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

 

Ceramic Scultpure:

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Art Gallery Of Western Australia, Perth

 

Pottery:

Department of External Affairs, Canberra

Museum of Applied Arts and Science, Sydney

The Power House; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth

Staffordshire Museum, Stoke-on-Trent

Museum of Modern Art of Australia, Melbourne

Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

University of Western Australia, Perth

University of Queensland, Brisbane