Brother of Guy, Lucy and Arthur Boyd, David Boyd found acclaim as a potter in the 1950s and ’60s. He began his career as a painter in 1957 with a series of symbolic paintings on Australian explorers. David Boyd died on 10th November 2011 at Sydney, NSW.
David Boyd is a figurative painter, ceramic sculptor and potter. David Boyd’s art stems from a long family tradition of artistic talent.
He was the fourth child of the potters Merric and Doris Boyd, and with his talented siblings – Arthur, Guy, Lucy and Mary – he spent his childhood at the family farm, Open Country in Murrumbeena, Victoria. Strong beliefs in religion and ethics shaped the Boyd family, and as with his brothers David refused to fight in World War II. He even underwent hunger strikes in order to avoid bearing arms.
After the War, David and his brother Guy moved to Sydney where they established Martin Boyd Pottery, producing high quality ceramics. In 1949 he married Hermia Lloyd Jones, a sculpture student at East Sydney Technical College. Their partnership in art and life was to last until her death in 2000. They could not however make a profit from their join pottery ventures until they moved to London in 1951. The media called them 'a golden couple’, and they attracted significant financial success, but in 1954 they returned to Australia, this time to Melbourne. Here the quality of their work combined with news of their London success, led to a significant local reputation, which was reflected in the sale of their combined work.
David Boyd began his career as a painter in 1957 with a series of symbolic paintings on Australian explorers. He became one of the seven members of Bernard Smith’s Antipodean group of figurative artists, joining his elder borther Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan, John Brack, Robert Dickerson, John Perceval and Clifton Pugh. His Truganini series was exhibited in Melbourne in 1959 but then the family departed once more for London.
David Boyd painted several major series of works, including his powerful Trial series, Tasmanian Aborigines, Wanderer and Exiles series. Picturing innocence and evil, destruction and creation, his works convey mythical and universal themes. Having won significant international recognition, David Boyd was invited by the Commonwealth Institute of Art, London, to hold a retrospective of paintings at their Art Gallery in 1969.
In 1971, after many years of British success, the Boyd family returned to Australia, settling this time in a large house in Silver Street, St Peters in inner Sydney. Noisy aeroplanes, represented by cockatoos, became the subject of some of his later paintings. He stopped painting in 2005, after breaking a hip, but continued to make etchings in collaboration with James Whitington. In 2009 he moved to Braidwood, where he was cared for by his daughter Lucinda.
David Boyd is represented in the Australian National Gallery, Canberra; all State and many regional galleries; the Mertz collection, USA; the Power Collection, Sydney; and many major international galleries and private collections in Australia and overseas.
He died on Thursday 10th November 2011 at Sydney, surrounded by three generations of his family, after a short illness. He was eighty-seven years old.