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The expulsion



Arthur Boyd

Australia, England

24 Jul 1920 - 24 Apr 1999


'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
of privacy.

Arthur Boyd, 1981




Media category


Materials used

oil on hardboard


101.6 x 122.0 cm board; 112.7 x 133.2 x 5.5 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.r. corner, black oil "Arthur Boyd". Not dated.


Purchased 1986


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Arthur Boyd

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 9 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 28 publications


Harbant Gill, Sun-Herald, 'Naked and the dread', pg. 32, Sydney, 22 Sep 2008, 32.

Lou Klepac, Australian painters of the twentieth century, 'Sidney Nolan', pg. 136-147, Sydney, 2000, 150 (colour illus.).

Barry Pearce, Southern reflections: 10 contemporary Australian artists, 'An Introduction to Australian Art', pg. 34-42, Sydney, 1998, 38 (colour illus.). 8

Barry Pearce, Look, 'The legacy in Sydney Arthur Boyd', pg. 18-20, Melbourne, Jul 1999, 19 (colour illus.), 20.

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.). 12; titled 'Expulsion'

Jill Sykes, Look, ‘Barry Pearce’s next book-call it “segueing with intent”’, pg. 28-29, Sydney, Mar 2012, 28.

Jill Sykes, Look, 'Small and temporary: but it's a big pointer to the future', pg. 28-29, Sydney, Sep 2011, 29 (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.

Authority and influence: Australian literary criticism 1950-2000, St. Lucia, 2001, front cover (colour illus.).

Arthur Boyd: Art and life, London, 2000, 74, 75 (colour illus.), 76.

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

The Naked and the Nude, Ballarat, 2008, 111 (colour illus.), 131. no catalogue numbers

Religion and literature, Indiana, Spring 2007, front cover (colour illus.).

Aspects of Australian art, Sydney, 2000, (colour illus.). card no. 9: Arthur Boyd 'The expulsion' 1947-48

Heavenly creatures, Bulleen, 2004, 5, 18 (colour illus.), 30.

Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, Sydney, 1999, 154 (colour illus.).

Artwise: visual arts 7-10, Milton, 2004, 154 (colour illus.).

Art Wise - Visual Arts years 7-10, Queensland, 1997, 21, 34, 52, 118, 122, 126, 129, 146, 148.

AGNSW Collections, 'From Colonialism to late Modernism', pg. 7-106, Sydney, 1994, 54 (colour illus.).

Arthur Boyd retrospective, Sydney, 1993, 10 (colour illus.), 16, 73 (colour illus.). 56

Art and Australia (Vol. 24, No. 3), Sydney, Autumn 1987, 325 (colour illus.).

Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Sydney, 1986, (illus.).

The art of Arthur Boyd, London, 1986, 43, 113 (colour illus.), dust jacket [back cover] (colour illus.). plate no. 36

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

Arthur Boyd, London, 1967, 52, 68, plate no. XVI (colour illus.). 3.17, plate no. XVI

Australian Painting Today, London, 1963, 62 (colour illus.).

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.

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.