1924 - Present
Born in Murrumbeena, the youngest of three sons to Merric and Doris Boyd, David Boyd is a member of the renowned Boyd family, who are celebrated for their legacy to Australia's cultural development.
The young Boyd studied painting and pottery - the two areas of art for which his is best known - as well as the piano, from his family. At the age of 17, he attended the Melba Conservatorium of Music in Melbourne for further piano. However, in 1942, once he turned 18, Boyd was conscripted into the Australian army and was forced to give up his studies. After his discharge from the army in 1944, Boyd received an ex-serviceman's grant to study piano at the Melbourne University Conservatorium of Music. Boyd, however, found study difficult, struggling with the formal methods of learning, and possibly still suffering from the distressing effect of war.
Although Boyd loved music and spent hours at the piano improvising, he felt that he was not cut out to be a professional performer or composer. He decided to take up painting and transferred his ex-serviceman's scholarship to the Melbourne National Gallery art school, where studied from 1945 to 1946. During this period, Boyd painted his Soul series as well as some plein air landscapes for his first two exhibitions with his friend John Yule at the Rowden White Library, University of Melbourne. Unfortunately none of his efforts succeeded in impressing critics. While his teachers at the National Gallery School found him talented, he was highly individual and difficult to teach. Altogether these difficulties and failures caused David Boyd to feel that he had made a bad start at painting and should give it up.
David Boyd's father, Merric, was a pioneer of Australian pottery, and it was on this skill, learned in early childhood from his father, that Boyd then decided to concentrate. Although these early works demonstrate his father's influence, Boyd quickly developed an individual style alongside his wife, fellow artist Hermia Lloyd-Jones. The partnership was fruitful, with the pair quickly finding critical acclaim both in Australian and internationally from the mid-1940s until the beginning of the 60s.
Eventually, pottery led Boyd back to his original artistic exploits, when a series of ceramic tiles that dealt with biblical themes and explorers, convinced him to re-try his hand at painting. A series of paintings based on the Australian explorers from his tiles were the theme of his first solo exhibition in 1957.
Boyd's paintings have primarily been produced in series, each of which takes a concept or a theme that, with his fertile imagination, he explores extensively. As a dedicated figurative artist, Boyd draws his themes from the world around him, especially selecting those that arise from oppression and injustice. Boyd has often been referred to as a moral painter, although his intention is not to teach, but rather to illuminate the murky areas of the human psyche.
In 1959, together with brother Arthur, David Boyd was a signatory to the Antipodean Manifesto and participated in the subsequent exhibition. This was a landmark exhibition and a statement by the participating artists against the move to abstractionism. Boyd explored a number of themes that evolved as quite significant works, including the powerful Trial series, the Tasmanian Aborigines, the Wanderer and Exiles series. Picturing innocence and evil, destruction and creation, his works convey mythical and universal themes. The Trial series was continued while he lived in Rome in 1962 before settling in London, and were the theme of his first one-man shows in London and Paris in 1963.
In 1960 David Boyd was elected President of the Contemporary Art Society (Victorian branch) and Councillor of the Museum of Modern Art of Australia. This recognition was followed by his winning first prize in the Italian Art Scholarship for Australia and becoming chairman of the Federal Council of the Contemporary Art Society of Australia, both in 1961.
After living in Italy, England, France and Spain during most of the 60s and the early 70s, Boyd finally returned to Australia permanently in 1975.
' The Trial series (expressed ideas about fundamental and disturbing features of the human condition); Tasmanian Aborigines series (referred to the extinction of pureblood Tasmanian Aborigines in the nineteenth century); Wanderer series (was inspired by the life of Benjamin Boyd, an Australian adventurer of the 1840s).
''Reconciliation'', Eva Breuer Art Dealer, Sydney, NSW
series of exhibitions at von Bertouch Galleries
''The Legend of Europa and the Cockatoos'', Eva Breuer Art Dealer, Sydney
Survey retrospective exhibitions Wagner Gallery, Sydney; Caulfield Art Complex, Melbourne; Macquarie University, Sydney; Beaver Galleries, Sydney, Canberra
''Antipodean Second Chapter'', Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne
''Requiem for the Birth of a Nation'', Wagner Art Gallery, Sydney
''A Judge in the Landscape'', Hong Kong; Wagner Art Gallery, Sydney; von Bertouch Galleries, Newcastle
''Retrospective Exhibition 1957-82'', a series of seven exhibitions, Wagner Art Gallery, Sydney
Retrospective, Albert Hall, Canberra.
Retrospective, Bonython Gallery, Sydney
Exhibited 'The Exiles' series in London and Melbourne
''David Boyd: A Retrospective'', Commonwealth Institute of Art, London
Arts Vietnam, protest exhibition, Gallery A, Sydney
''The Australian Painters: 1946-66'', Mertz Collection, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
'Sfumato Series', Zwemmer Gallery, London; South Yarra Gallery, Melbourne
''Arthur and David Boyd'', The Mowbray Gallery, Sunderland
'Trial Series', Johnstone Gallery, Brisbane; Bonython Gallery, Adelaide; South Yarra Gallery, Melbourne; Dominion Gallery, Sydney
''Recent Australian Paintings'', Whitechapel Art Gallery, London
''Australian Paintings'', Raymond Burr Galleries, Los Angeles
''Italian Government Art Prize'', National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
'Explorer, Tasmanian and Trial series', Johnstone Gallery, Brisbane
''The Antipodeans'', V.A.S Galleries, Melbourne
''Pattern and Shape'', National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
'Arthur Boyd (paintings) and David and Hermia Boyd (ceramics)', Peter Bray Gallery, Melbourne
Achievements, Collections & Commissions
Membro Albo Doro Del Senato Accademico - International Academy of Modern Art, Rome, Italy
Artist in residence School of Law, Macquarie University, NSW
First Prize, Italian Art Scholarship for Australian Chairman of the Federal Council of the Contemporary Art Society of Australia.
President of the Contemporary Art Society (Victorian branch)
Elected Councillor of the Museum of Modern Art of Australia
Adelaide Art Teachers College, Adelaide
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Ballarat Art Gallery, Ballarat
Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo
Bundanon Trust, Nowra
Department of External Affairs, Canberra
Graylands College, Perth
Harold Mertz Collection of Australian Paintings, USA
Lincolnshire and South Humberside Arts, Usher Gallery, Lincoln, UK
Macquarie University, Sydney
Monash University, Melbourne
Museum of Applied Arts and Science, Sydney
Museum of Modern Art of Australia, Melbourne
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
National Gallery of Victoria
National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
Newcastle Regional Art Gallery, Newcastle
The Power Collection, Sydney
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Queensland University, Brisbane
Queen Victoria Museum, Launceston
Staffordshire Museum, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
Sydney University, Sydney
University of New South Wales, Sydney
University of Adelaide, South Australia
University of Western Australia, Perth
Bonython, K. ''Modern Australian Painting and Sculpture'', Griffin Press, Adelaide, 1960
Bonython, K. ''Modern Australian Painting 1960-1970'', with introduction by Ross K. Luck, Rigby Limited, Adelaide, 1970
Boyd, Martin, ''Day of my Delight'', Lansdowne Press Pty Ltd, Melbourne, 1965
Burr, James & Williams, Sheldon, ''Sfumato Paintings and Drawings of David Boyd'' (monograph), Ritchie Dickson Limited, London, 1967
Finlay, D. J. ''Modern Australian Painting'', Beaverbrook Newspapers Limited, London, 1963
Hood, K., ''Pottery'', Longmans, Melbourne, 1961
Luck, Ross K, ''The Australian Painters, 1964-66 , The Mertz Collection'', Griffin Press, Adelaide, 1966
Luck, Ross K., ''Modern Australian Painting'', Sun Books, Melbourne, 1969
Parr, Lenton, ''Sculpture'', Longmons, Melbourne, 1961
Pringle, J. D., ''Australian Painting Today'', Thames & Hudson, London, 1963
Smith, Bernard, ''Australian Painting 1788-1960'', Oxford University Press, 1962
Smith, Bernard, ''Australian Painting Today'', University of Queensland Press, 1962
Osborne, Harold (ed.), ''The Oxford Companion to Art'', Oxford University Press, 1970
Benko, Nancy, ''The Art of David Boyd'' (monograph), Hyde Park Press, Adelaide, 1973
Vader, John, ''The Pottery and Ceramics of David and Hermia Boyd'', Mathews/Hutchinson, Sydney, 1977
Marginson, Ray, ''Catalogue of the Melbourne University Art Collection'', 1971
''The Antipodean Manifesto'', (exhibition catalogue), Melbourne, 1959
''Recent Australian Painting'', Whitechapel Gallery, 1961
Scarlett, Ken, ''Australian Sculptors'', Nelson, 1980
Fry, Gavin & Gray, Anne, ''Masterpieces of the Australian War Memorial'', Rigby, 1982
Dbrez, Patricia & Herbst, Peter,'' The Art of the Boyds'', Bay Books, New South Wales, 1991
Furby, Paula & Snowden, Betty, ''The University of Adelaide Art Collections'', University of Adelaide, S.A., 1995
''Art and Law'', vol. 20, no. 2, April 1995, Monash University, Victoria
''From Vision to Sesquicentenary'', The University of Sydney, 1999