'The expulsion' completes Arthur Boyd’s cycle of biblical-themed paintings which he began in 1944. Based on the Old Testament story of Adam and Eve expelled by God from the Garden of Eden, the figures recall the work of 15th-century Florentine painter, Masaccio. Boyd transposes this early Renaissance pictorial idea into an Australian wilderness.
The focus of 'The expulsion' is not so much the biblical narrative as a poignant depiction of Boyd’s concern for lovers denied privacy, which he had experienced when courting his future wife, Yvonne, after his conscription into the army.
I see lovers as victims …They suffer from being unprivate, watched. Love becomes guilt because it is frustrated. Pictures with animals or another human figure watching lovers are intended to give the idea of spying, a disturbance, a breaking into the moment
Arthur Boyd, 1981
Curator insights - Australian galleries The expulsion
oil on hardboard
101.6 x 122.0 cm board; 113.0 x 133.2 x 5.5 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.r. corner, black oil "Arthur Boyd". Not dated.
Not on display
© Reproduced with permission of Bundanon Trust/Viscopy
Shown in 7 exhibitions
Arthur Boyd retrospective exhibition (1964), Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 07 Mar 1964–21 Mar 1964
Retrospective exhibition of paintings, drawings and other works by Arthur Boyd (1969), Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh, 14 Apr 1969–10 May 1969
Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Sep 1986–23 Nov 1986
Arthur Boyd retrospective (1993-1994):
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 15 Dec 1993–06 Mar 1994
- National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne 30 Mar 1994–23 May 1994
- Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart 09 Jun 1994–21 Aug 1994
- Art Gallery of Western Australia, Australia 22 Sep 1994–20 Nov 1994
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000
Heavenly creatures, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 04 Dec 2004–20 Jan 2005
The naked and the nude, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Ballarat, 13 Sep 2008–07 Dec 2008
Referenced in 28 publications
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Sydney, 1986, (illus.).
Delys Bird, Robert Dixon and Christopher Lee (Editors), Authority and influence: Australian literary criticism 1950-2000, St. Lucia, 2001, front cover (colour illus.).
Christie's, Australia Pty. Ltd. (Compilator), Christie's Australia: Australian and International Paintings, Sydney, Aug 2003, 101. lot no. 79; titled 'The Expulsion', not dated, oil on canvas, 109.4 x 114.4cm; reproduced in colour, this painting is a variation on the AGNSW's work
Christie's, Australia Pty. Ltd., Christie's Australia. Australian, International and Contemporary Painting. Melbourne 22 August 2005, South Yarra, 2005, 53. lot no. 40; titled 'The Expulsion', not dated, oil on canvas, 109.4 x 114.4cm, Estimate: $22,000-35,000; reproduced in colour, this painting is a variation on the AGNSW's work
Laura Critchley (Director), Dynasties: the Boyd family, Sydney, 2003, (colour illus.). This episode of 'Dynasties' was first screened on ABC television on 23 November 2003 at 8:00pm.
Elizabeth Cross, The Naked and the Nude, Ballarat, 2008, 111 (colour illus.), 131. no catalogue numbers
Annabel Davie (Editor), Art and Australia (Vol. 24, No. 3), Sydney, Autumn 1987, 325 (colour illus.).
Harbant Gill, Sun-Herald, 'Naked and the dread', pg. 32, Sydney, 22 Sep 2008, 32.
Dr Ursula Hoff, The art of Arthur Boyd, London, 1986, 43, 113 (colour illus.), dust jacket [back cover] (colour illus.). plate no. 36
Glenis Israel, Artwise: visual arts 7-10, Milton, 2004, 154 (colour illus.).
Glenis Israel, Art Wise - Visual Arts years 7-10, Queensland, 1997, 21, 34, 52, 118, 122, 126, 129, 146, 148.
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, Sydney, 1999, 154 (colour illus.).
Melissa Keys and Brenda L Croft, Heavenly creatures, Bulleen, 2004, 5, 18 (colour illus.), 30.
Lou Klepac, Australian painters of the twentieth century, 'Sidney Nolan', pg. 136-147, Sydney, 2000, 150 (colour illus.).
Ewen McDonald, The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, 'From Colonialism to late Modernism', pg. 7-106, Sydney, 1994, 54 (colour illus.).
Janet McKenzie, Arthur Boyd: Art and life, London, 2000, 74, 75 (colour illus.), 76.
Barry Pearce, Arthur Boyd retrospective, Sydney, 1993, 10 (colour illus.), 16, 73 (colour illus.). cat.no. 56
Barry Pearce, Look, 'The legacy in Sydney Arthur Boyd', pg. 18-20, Melbourne, Jul 1999, 19 (colour illus.), 20.
Barry Pearce, Southern reflections: 10 contemporary Australian artists, 'An Introduction to Australian Art', pg. 34-42, Sydney, 1998, 38 (colour illus.). fig.no. 8
Franz Philipp, Arthur Boyd, London, 1967, 52, 68, plate no. XVI (colour illus.). cat.no. 3.17, plate no. XVI
John Douglas Pringle, Australian Painting Today, London, 1963, 62 (colour illus.).
Ursula Prunster, Aspects of Australian art, Sydney, 2000, (colour illus.). card no. 9: Arthur Boyd 'The expulsion' 1947-48
T G Rosenthal., Retrospective exhibition of paintings, drawings and other work by Arthur Boyd: 14 April to 10 May 1969, 'The art of Arthur Boyd', Edinburgh, 1969, (illus.). cat.no. 12; titled 'Expulsion'
Jill Sykes, Look, 'Small and temporary: but it's a big pointer to the future', pg. 28-29, Sydney, Sep 2011, 29 (colour illus.).
Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, 'About a Boyd', pg. 7, Sydney, Jun 2002, 7. Article with photograph of Tom Rosenthal standing in front of the painting. Rosenthal owned this work until he sold it to the AGNSW in 1986.
Jill Sykes, Look, ‘Barry Pearce’s next book-call it “segueing with intent”’, pg. 28-29, Sydney, Mar 2012, 28.
The University of Notre Dame (Editor), Religion and literature, Indiana, Spring 2007, front cover (colour illus.).
Natalie Wilson, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Out of Melbourne: realisms and mythologies', pg. 163-164, Sydney, 2000, 164, 173 (colour illus.), 300.