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Self portrait
, 1945-46

by Arthur Boyd

oil on canvas laid on composition board (frame: 93.5 cm x 83.0 cm, support: 71.5 cm x 61.5 cm)

Arthur Boyd AC OBE was amongst Australia’s great twentieth-century painters. Although he is known for his landscapes and mythical subjects, and produced relatively few portraits, Boyd made a number of paintings of family and friends, all redolent of his interest in deep human truths. This intense and searching self-portrait was painted at a time when the artist was reading the novels of Fyodor Dostoevsky, and engaged on a series of works on the agony of war. Although he represented himself as apprehensive and isolated, Albert Tucker took a photo of Boyd with the recently completed work, surrounded by friends in his studio at his family’s home, which captures the sense of the shared creative environment in which this and other portraits of the 1940s were painted.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by the Liangis family 2014
Accession number: 2014.47