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Arthur Boyd

In their own words

Recorded 1965

Arthur Boyd
Audio: 2 minutes

I’d be trying to change all the time in a way, I’d be attempting to – not to repeat, not to go back – but to extract something from what I’d done and to build on it in a way, and I dare say my painting on the whole doesn’t give the impression perhaps of being built on in the same way as someone who’s a very consistent painter and probably more even; I mean, I consider myself an extremely uneven painter, and I think to extract something fresh each time out of a bout which you do is the ideal thing, but I find it difficult, and I hope that I’m doing it, but I’d prefer to come out with something fresh and marvellous every time. But, I mean, you don’t ever come out with anything fresh or marvellous, it always seems ghastly when it goes up on the wall, and maybe it is.

I hope it’s becoming less taped, or typed. Not meant to be a pun, but anyway, I think that’s what I’d prefer to be happening, that it’s becoming just as much mine, if I can make it that way, but much less typed in the sense that it would be, well, ‘that’s Australian’, or ‘that comes from Melbourne, that comes from Ballarat, that’s where …’. I’d like it to be much more a universal sort of thing. I don’t mean necessarily the painting to look as if it could be done anywhere, but just that it would be much more like good painting rather than like something that comes from somewhere.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Arthur Boyd is from the De Berg Collection (interview by Hal Missingham) in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

Audio source

National Library of Australia, Hazel de Berg collection

Related people

Arthur Boyd AC OBE

Related information

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.

Self portrait
Self portrait
Self portrait
Self portrait

Mysterious eyes

Arthur Boyd portraits from 1945

Previous exhibition, 2016

Boyd’s self-portrait at age 25 is joined by his equally emotive portraits of those around him.

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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.

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