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Arthur Boyd in his studio at Bundanon
, 1993

by Adam Knott

type C photograph (sheet: 41.0 cm x 30.4 cm, image: 35.5 cm x 29.1 cm)

Arthur Boyd AC OBE (1920-1999), painter, potter and printmaker, was one of Australia's greatest painters. The son of artists, Boyd began painting as a boy, developing a vigorous and expressive style. During World War 2 he made paintings depicting a grotesque and unbalanced world; several of his paintings inspired by early Flemish artists combined religious subjects with current events. In the 1960s, based mainly in England, Boyd embarked on cycles of paintings based on Biblical and mythological themes. Returning to Australia in the early 1970s, he began depicting the landscape of the Shoalhaven River on the south coast of New South Wales. He bought a property there, Bundanon, which he and his wife Yvonne gave to the Australian people in 1993. This was his second great act of public generosity; eighteen years before he had made an immense gift of his own work to the National Gallery of Australia. In 1995, Boyd was Australian of the Year; he remains the only visual artist to have been honoured in this way.

Australian of the Year 1995

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Richard King 2008
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2008.50