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Arthur Boyd

Art & Life

Janet McKenzie

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'Splendid … marvellous … Janet McKenzie has produced a wonderful tribute to her friend, a work of great scholarship, beautifully written and with superb colour illustrations' Art Review


Arthur Boyd is unquestionably one of Australia's greatest artists, his popularity and international reputation matched only by that of his friend and brother-in-law, Sidney Nolan. Throughout the course of a very rich and varied life, Boyd was influenced and animated by many great themes. Janet McKenzie's account elaborates on these influences as Boyd's art developed in Australia and England, drawing heavily on her friendship with the artist in the latter years of his life.

Boyd's artistic career began early; even in his teens he was painting professional, albeit conventional, pictures. These gave such a profound effect on the development of Australian figurative painting. By 1950 Boyd had produced a remarkable series of religious paintings, all heavily influenced by the Old Masters - his only real contact with the mainstream of European art. He went on to paint many works where his sources were specifically Australian, in particular the landscapes which, perhaps for the first time, looked really Australian, and the luminous Bride paintings, his moving response to the plight of the aborigines. In 1960 Boyd came to England, where he had a period of great artistic fertility, extending his repertory to include etchings, aquatints and drypoints, many of which were published in book form.

Boyd's work is an extraordinary mixture of fantasy, eroticism and humanism. His prodigious creativity in all media is maginficently conveyed in this beautiful and original study, which is complemented by a chronology, a full bibiography and a list of his illustrated works. Every aspect and period of Boyd's art and life is fully documented , making this the most complete account available of this engaging and infinitely compassionate artist.

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 27.9 x 25.9 cm

Extent: 224 pp

Illustrations: 254

Publication date: 13 November 2000

ISBN: 9780500092965

About the Author

Janet McKenzie was born in Victoria, Australia and studied at the Australian National University and the Canberra School of Art. She is the author of numerous books including Contemporary Drawing Australia and Moving Beyond, Painting in China.

List of Contributors

Martin Kemp