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An image of Self portrait by Arthur Boyd

Arthur Boyd

(Australia, England 24 Jul 1920 – 24 Apr 1999)

Self portrait
Other titles:
Etching no. 31
Media category
Materials used
etching, printed in black ink on white wove paper

30.1 x 25.0 cm platemark; 47.4 x 39.5 cm sheet

Signature & date
Signed l.r., pencil "Arthur Boyd". Not dated.
Purchased 1963
Accession number
© Reproduced with permission of Bundanon Trust
Not on display
Further information

Boyd's initial lessons in etching were with celebrated printmaker Jessie Trail at her Melbourne studio in the 1930s. However, it was not until his move to London in 1959 that he became absorbed with the expressive possibilities of printmaking, recognising this medium as indivisible from his work as a whole:
"I think it's a very good idea to be able to turn to a number of different techniques ... A new medium offers the artist a variety of keys; it allows him to re-state and sum-up without repeating himself."
- Arthur Boyd 1972

His first dry-point prints, including 'The birth of the Southern Cross' 1962-63, were made using a Stanley knife, scoring soft copper plates to create deep, richly-textured, etched lines, often overlaid with subtle areas of aquatint. Themes and images which were the mainstream of his paintings between 1941 and 1944 are reworked in etchings and lithographs made during 1962-63 and 1968-69.

These led to the publication of print sets where Boyd collaborated with historian T.S.R. Boase and poet Peter Porter over the ensuing two decades, exploring subjects which included 'St Francis of Assisi' 1964-65, 'Lysistrata' 1970, and 'Jonah' 1972-73, confirming his continuing passion for the ideas and literature of Europe.

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000

Bibliography (9)

Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1963 Acquisitions, Sydney, 1963, 36-7. 54

Clune Galleries, Arthur Boyd: Recent paintings and etchings, Sydney, 1963. 31; titled 'Etching'

Mervyn Horton (Editor), Art and Australia [series 5, vol. 1, no. 4], Sydney, Feb 1964-Apr 1964, 234 (illus.).

Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, Australian prints from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1998, 102 (illus.), 103. 86

Imre von Maltzahn., Arthur Boyd etchings and lithographs, 'Introduction', London, 1971, (illus.). 32; no edition number; not paginated

Barry Pearce, Australian painters of the twentieth century, 'Arthur Boyd', pg. 148-159, Roseville, 2000, 152 (illus.), 153.

Barry Pearce, Arthur Boyd retrospective, Sydney, 1993, 8 (illus.). 168

Barry Pearce, Look, 'The legacy in Sydney Arthur Boyd', pg. 18-20, South Yarra, Jul 1999, 20.

Franz Philipp, Arthur Boyd, London, 1967, 113 (illus.), 266. 11.32; plate no. 116; not paginated

Exhibition history (5)

Arthur Boyd: recent paintings and etchings (1963), Clune Galleries, Sydney, 12 Jun 1963–28 Jun 1963

Arthur Boyd: Recent paintings and etchings (1963), Clune Galleries, Sydney, 12 Jun 1963–28 Jun 1963

Arthur Boyd retrospective (1993-1994):

Australian prints from the Gallery's collection (1998-1999), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Nov 1998–07 Feb 1999

Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000