Important Australian + International Fine Art
9 May 2007

Arthur Boyd

(1920 - 1999)

oil on canvas on composition board

71.5 x 90.0 cm

signed lower centre: arthur Boyd

$90,000 - 120,000
Sold for $105,000 (inc. BP) in Auction 1 - 9 May 2007, Melbourne

Australian Galleries, Melbourne
Mr A Bruce Wenzel, Melbourne, 1957
Thence by descent, private collection, Melbourne


John Perceval: Arthur Boyd, Australian Galleries, Melbourne, 7 April - May 1957, cat.67
Arthur Boyd's Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2 April - 4 May 1970, cat.33


Philipp, F., Arthur Boyd, London, 1967, p.254, cat.8.2

Catalogue text

In the 1940s and 50s, tradition played an important role in the art of Arthur Boyd and his brother-in-law John Perceval. Their works based on Biblical stories were painted in the ancient technique of tempera, and the influences of such old masters as Tintoretto and Pieter Brueghel the Elder abound. Boyd was also mindful of his Australian past, referring to or directly honouring the Australian Impressionists, especially Charles Conder, as in Boyd's Autumn Afternoon, Mentone 1957-58, a homage to Conder's A Holiday at Mentone 1888 (collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia).

Gathering Wildflowers 1956 looks at another of the Impressionists, Frederick McCubbin, and his paintings of young women in the bush, especially McCubbin's Gathering Mistletoe 1886. There are likewise extended connections to McCubbin's Lost 1886 (National Gallery of Victoria) and Tom Roberts' A Summer Morning Tiff 1886 (Ballarat Fine Art Gallery). While Boyd's Mentone painting is compositionally close to that of Conder's, compositional references to McCubbin in Gathering Wildflowers are limited, even the middle ground placement of the young women within the bushland setting is more thematic than compositional. Nevertheless, the inspiration is very much that of the loved older painter. Even the painter's titles are similar and both models are from the artists' families. In McCubbin's painting the model was his sister, Mary. In Boyd's painting she is his young wife Yvonne. It is spring, the scene touched with the lyrical colours of the wildflowers and the free flight of a blue bird.