Sunday, 4 March 2012


“The innocent and the beautiful Have no enemy but time” – William

For Art Sunday today, a painting by David Boyd (1924 - 2011). David Boyd is one of the most important and well-loved Australian artists, a highly talented member of the renowned Boyd artistic dynasty. David first studied music at the Melbourne Conservatorium until conscripted into the army in 1942. On leaving the army in 1944 he switched from music to art and enrolled at the Victorian National Gallery Art School. Boyd’s initial distinction was as a potter, exhibiting with his wife Hermia first in Sydney in 1948 then becoming regarded as one of the leading potters in Australia and during the fifties and sixties.

His first major painting series commenced with the ‘Explorer Series’, a group of symbolic paintings of the Australian explorers. Winning the Italian Government Art Scholarship Prize for Australia in 1961, he moved to Rome with his family in 1962. Paintings from The ‘Tasmanians Series’ were exhibited to critical acclaim in solo exhibitions in London and Paris in 1963. Since then David Boyd has held many major exhibitions throughout Australia, England and France. Considerable international recognition followed and in 1969 he was invited by the Commonwealth Institute of Art in London to hold a major retrospective of his paintings.

The International Academy of Modern Art in Rome awarded David a Membro Albo D'Oro Del Senato Accademio in 1998 and he was awarded an OBE in 2009. David Boyd is revered in Australian art history for his persistent expressions of social justice, his broad academic views, his inspiring representations of innocence and beauty and a deep commitment to art and music

His painting “Children Playing Under the Wattle Tree” shows a recurrent theme in his work: The innocent and carefree days of childhood. He chooses to show children in Australian landscapes playing and enjoying the beauty of nature unaware of the cares of adulthood or the threat to the fragile environment by man’s activities. It is an illustration of a personal mythology, mingled perhaps with a host of autobiographical memories. The golden yellows and azures of this painting hark back to a beautiful golden age when nostalgic memories of childhood have become a potent stimulus for artistic creation. Boyd’s highly personal style and relaxed application of paint to canvas together with the limpid colours make of this painting a wonderful illustration of the unspoilt Australian bush and the innocent interaction of playing children with it.


  1. Every family has non-performers, but the Boyds all seemed to star in their chosen art. My favourite was Penleigh Boyd who selected his parents well, had clever and successful brothers, and gave birth to a brilliant architect son. What a tragedy that Penleigh died in his early 30s – he was the most gifted of all the Brilliant Boyds.