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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Arthur Boyd

c. 1982
Wes Walters

oil on canvas (frame: 56.8 cm x 51.7 cm, support: 40.0 cm x 35.0 cm)

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, Doris and Merric, were artists, as were his paternal grandparents, Arthur Merric and Emma Minnie Boyd. 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. During a trip to Central Australia in the 1950s he was shocked by the living conditions of Aboriginal people in Alice Springs, which resulted in his controversial series Love, Marriage and Death of a Half-caste. 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.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Dr Joseph Brown AO OBE 2006
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Estate of Wes Walters

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Wes Walters (age 54 in 1982)

Arthur Boyd AC OBE (age 62 in 1982)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

Joseph Brown AO OBE (4 portraits)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Self Portrait in red shirt, 1937 by Arthur Boyd
Self Portrait in red shirt, 1937 by Arthur Boyd
Self Portrait in red shirt, 1937 by Arthur Boyd
Self Portrait in red shirt, 1937 by Arthur Boyd

Arthur as Alyosha?

Magazine article by Patrick McCaughey, 2015

Patrick McCaughey explores a striking Boyd self portrait.

Artist and wife near Arthurs Seat, 1969
Artist and wife near Arthurs Seat, 1969
Artist and wife near Arthurs Seat, 1969
Artist and wife near Arthurs Seat, 1969

Through blue eyes

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

Works by Arthur Boyd and Sidney Nolan bring the desert, the misty seashore and the hot Monaro plains to exhibition Open Air: Portraits in the landscape.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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