Arthur Boyd / Australia 1920–99 / The lady betrays the unicorn (from ‘The Lady and the Unicorn’ portfolio) 1975 / Etching / 79.6 x 57.2cm / Gift of Philip Bacon AM through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation 2016 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © Arthur Boyd’s work reproduced with the permission of Bundanon Trust

 

 

Arthur Boyd
The lady betrays the unicorn I 1975

On Display: QAG, Gallery 10

Arthur Boyd is arguably the most pictorially and creatively inventive of the twentieth-century Australian painters.

Born in 1920 in the Melbourne suburb of Murrumbeena, he entered into a family of painters, printmakers, potters and sculptors. From the age of 14 he lived at Rosebud on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, with his grandfather, landscape painter Arthur Merric Boyd. It was here that he began to paint full-time.

Boyd was conscripted into the army in 1941 and, though he did not actively serve in World War Two, the influence of war on his work is evident in the symbolism and atmosphere of psychological torment throughout his oeuvre.

Alongside his contemporaries Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker and Joy Hester, Boyd shared a friendship with John and Sunday Reed.

During his travels through central Australia in 1953, Boyd was exposed to the disparity of living conditions between Indigenous and white Australians. In 1959 he moved to England, returning to Australia in 1968.

His 1973–88 paintings were chosen as the first to be exhibited in the new Australian Pavilion at the 1988 Venice Biennale.