4. Arthur Boyd

One of the Hotel’s features is our rooms are named after Australian artists. Room 4, one of our King ensuite rooms, is named after Arthur Boyd.

Arthur Merric Bloomfield Boyd AC OBE (24 July 1920 – 24 April 1999) was a leading Australian painter of the middle to late 20th century. Boyd’s work ranges from impressionist renderings of Australian landscape to starkly expressionist figuration, and many canvases feature both. Several famous works set Biblical stories against the Australian landscape, such as The Expulsion (1947–48), now at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Having a strong social conscience, Boyd’s work deals with humanitarian issues and universal themes of love, loss and shame.

Boyd was a member of the Antipodeans, a group of Melbourne painters that also included Clifton Pugh, David Bod, John Brack, Robert Dickerson, John Perceval and Charles Blackman.

The Boyd Family line of successive and connective artists includes painters, sculptors, architects and other arts professionals, commencing with Boyd’s grandmother Emma Minnie Boyd and her husband Arthur Merric Boyd, Boyd’s father Merric and mother Doris; ‘She was the backbone of the family’ recalls Boyd “without her, the entire family would have fallen apart”, uncle Penleigh Boyd (and his son, Arthur’s cousin, Robin), uncle Martin Boyd, and siblings Guy, David and Lucy. His other sister Mary Boyd, married first John Perceval, and then later Sidney Nolan, both artists. Boyd’s wife, Yvonne Boyd (née Lennie) is also a painter; as are their children Jamie, Polly, and Lucy.

Travelling around central Australia in the 1950s he was shocked by the conditions in which Aboriginal people lived in Alice Springs. This experience initiated the Love, marriage and death of a half-caste series of 31 paintings, also known as The bride, which imagined the figure of an Aboriginal person of mixed descent as a neglected outsider. The series was exhibited in Melbourne in 1958, raising contentious issues about the ongoing marginalisation of Aboriginal people.

The Antipodeans group had an exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, and in 1959 Boyd relocated to London with his family, where he remained until 1971. Despite his English location, Boyd continued to depict Australian subjects, locating his allegorical and mythical scenes in Australian bush settings.

In 1971 he returned to Australia, eventually settling at Bundanon on the Shoalhaven River in New South Wales, where he continued to paint landscapes.  In 1993, Arthur and Yvonne Boyd gave family properties comprising 1,100 hectares (2,700 acres) at Bundanon on the Shoalhaven River to the people of Australia. Held in trust, Boyd later donated further property, artwork, and the copyright to all of his work. [Source: Wikipedia and Art Gallery of NSW]

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