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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.

Self portrait

1945-1946
Arthur Boyd AC OBE

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
© Arthur Boyd
Arthur Boyd’s work reproduced with the permission of Bundanon Trust bundanon.com.au

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

Arthur Boyd AC OBE (age 25 in 1945)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Supported by

Mrs Sortiria Liangis AM (12 portraits supported)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

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.

Arthur Boyd's studio
Arthur Boyd's studio
Arthur Boyd's studio
Arthur Boyd's studio

Boyd to man

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2016

Christopher Chapman looks at influences and insight in the formative years of 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
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.

© 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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