In 1954 Boyd exhibited sixteen terracotta sculptures at the Peter Bray Gallery in Melbourne. 'Judas kissing Christ' was one of four pieces which depicted themes from the New Testament, the remainder being genre subjects.
Working from the Arthur Merric Boyd Pottery in Murrumbeena, which he, John Perceval and Peter Herbst had established in 1944, Boyd also produced ceramic paintings on tiles, such as 'Christ walking on the water' 1950-52, extending the medium through extensive experimentation with firing methods and lead glazes, to create a 'stained glass' effect. His father Merric Boyd, one of Australia's first and most talented studio potters, instilled in his son a vision of pottery as a medium for serious artistic vision.
One of Boyd's fondest memories as a child was watching the firing of the kiln, an event which decades later still evoked feelings of excitement:
"I can remember a few occasions when I felt very pleased for a short time and one was when I first took some very big pieces of ceramic sculpture out of the kiln. I had built a kiln for firing ceramic sculpture in the backyard of the old house at Murrumbeena ... It was the first sculpture I had done of any size ... and then opening up the kiln and taking them out while they were still very hot ... this was very exciting."
Arthur Boyd 1967
glazed and painted terracotta
60.9 x 37.0 x 36.6 cm
Signature & date
Signed near base.
© Reproduced with permission of Bundanon Trust
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Arthur Boyd retrospective exhibition (1964), Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 07 Mar 1964–21 Mar 1964
Three years on: acquisitions 1978-81, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Oct 1981–01 Dec 1981
The Australian Dream: Design of the 1950's, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, 21 Dec 1992–31 Dec 1993
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
Referenced in 10 publications
Peter Gotting, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'To great and absent friend', pg. 14, Sydney, 01 Aug 2000, 14 (illus.).
Dr Ursula Hoff, The art of Arthur Boyd, London, 1986, (colour illus.). cat.no. 62; not paginated
Glenis Israel, Art Wise - Visual Arts years 7-10, Queensland, 1997, 21, 34, 52, 118, 122, 126, 129, 146, 148.
Glenis Israel, Artwise: visual arts 7-10, Milton, 2004, 155, 156 (colour illus.).
Barry Pearce, Look, 'The legacy in Sydney Arthur Boyd', pg. 18-20, Melbourne, Jul 1999, 20.
Barry Pearce, Arthur Boyd retrospective, Sydney, 1993, 168 (colour illus.). cat.no. 199
Barry Pearce, Three years on: a selection of acquisitions 1978-1981, 'Australian Art', pg. 5-26, Sydney, 1981, 10 (illus.). cat.no. 5
Franz Philipp, Arthur Boyd, London, 1967, 76, (colour illus.), 253. cat.no. 7.3; plate nos. 64 and 65
Ursula Prunster, Aspects of Australian art, Sydney, 2000, (illus.). card no. 9: Arthur Boyd 'The expulsion' 1947-48
Editor Unknown (Editor), Look, 'Boyd's New Testament themes', Heidelberg, Oct 1986, 7.