The expulsion

Arthur Boyd(1947-1948)

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Arthur Boyd was guided and encouraged throughout his life by members of his celebrated family, many of whom were painters, potters and writers. He made contact with the 'Angry Penguins' group in Melbourne, meeting John Perceval and Albert Tucker during army service 1941-44, when he was also introduced to John and Sunday Reed and Sidney Nolan.

'The Expulsion' completes the cycle of work concerned with biblical themes, which began with 'The shepherd' and 'The Mockers'. Based on the Old Testament story of Adam and Eve, the figures relate strongly to the figurative motifs of fifteenth century Florentine painter Masaccio. However, Boyd translates this early Renaissance pictorial idea into an Australian idiom, setting the scene within an antipodean 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 animal 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

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  • Title: The expulsion
  • Creator: Arthur Boyd
  • Date Created: (1947-1948)
  • Physical Dimensions: 101.6 x 122.0 cm board; 113.0 x 133.2 x 5.5 cm frame
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Purchased 1986 © Reproduced with permission of Bundanon Trust
  • Medium: oil on hardboard
  • Signature & Date: Signed l.r. corner, black oil "Arthur Boyd". Not dated.
  • Artist Country: Australia