Martin Boyd | A Difficult Young Man

Australian writer, Martin à Beckett Boyd, was born on 10 June, 1893, in Lucerne, Switzerland, into the à Beckett-Boyd family. He was the youngest son of Arthur Merric Boyd and Emma Minnie (nee à Beckett) Boyd, who were both established Australian artists. Martin Boyd’s siblings included the potter William Merric Boyd, and painters Theodore Penleigh Boyd; and, Helen à Beckett Read (née Boyd). In 1893, the family was travelling through Europe, using a family inheritance from the à Beckett family. Martin regarded his birthplace in Europe, as one of the reasons for his lifelong inability to feel at home, anywhere.

  • On return to Melbourne, the Boyd family lived in Sandringham, and later at the family farm at Yarra Glen, Victoria. Martin attended Trinity Grammar School, in the Melbourne eastern suburb of Kew, where he developed a passion for English poetry and edited the school magazine, The Mitre. After completing school in 1912, Martin was undecided on a career path and commenced study for a religious vocation, at St John’s College, St Kilda. He did not see out the year, so by suggestion of his mother, Martin began training as an architect for Purchas and Teague in Melbourne.

Martin travelled to England, and in 1916, became a commissioned officer in the Royal East Kent Regiment, known as the “Buffs“. After fighting in the trenches in France, during World War One (WWI), in 1916, Martin requested a transfer; and was accepted into the Royal Flying Corps, in 1917; where he stayed until the end of the War.

  • Martin returned to Australia after WWI, but found he no longer fitted in. Listless and directionless, he left Melbourne in 1921, to live in London, where he did some newspaper work and travelled.  Martin was a sensitive, private and complex man, who struggled with his identity as an Anglo-Australian, as an expatriate writer; and, religion. He was a loyal family man and friend, yet never found a lasting romantic relationship of his own. Martin was intensely involved in family life, and took a keen interest in the development of his nephews and nieces, and their families.

After the death of his brother Penleigh, in 1923, Martin again turned to religion, joining an Anglican-Franciscan community in Dorset. This too was a phase, and he left, and continued on as before. For almost 20 years, Martin lived a nomadic life, never staying long in any place, and owning few possessions. He survived financially on one hundred pounds a year from his parents; a short stint as acting editor of The British Australasian; and sporadic payments from his writing.

  • In 1928, Martin won the Australian Literature Society (ALS) Gold Medal for his novel The Montforts. The novel, written under the pseudonym Martin Mills, is based on the history of his à Beckett-Boyd ancestors.

Martin became a novelist, memoirist, and poet and wrote from experience and about what he knew intimately. Throughout his life, he felt like an outsider, whether in Australia or Europe. Often described as a witty author, Martin’s work drew heavily on his life and family, and through his novels, he has been recognised as one of the most important Australian novelists of the 20th century.

His works written under the pseudonym of Martin Mills include:

  • Love Gods (1925), Bangrane: A Memoir (1926), and The Madeleine Heritage (1928). This is the American edition of The Montforts, (1928) [which he later changed authorship from Mills, to his birth name Martin Boyd]

The following series of novels were written in England:

  • Scandal of Spring (1934), The Lemon Farm (1935), The Painted Princess (1936), The Picnic (1937), Night of the Party (1938), Nuns in Jeopardy (1940), Lucinda Brayford (1946) and Such Pleasures (1949)

After the success of Lucinda Brayford, Martin returned to Australia in 1948, intending to remain living in his maternal grandfather à Beckett’s home, ‘The Grange‘, near Berwick. After three years, he left again for England, in 1951, disappointed by his dream of ‘The Grange‘, and the past; ignored by the Australian literary establishment; and out of touch with his younger relatives.

The Langton tetralogy which, though not published as a series during his lifetime, is now referred to as a collective and include:

  • The Cardboard Crown (1952), A Difficult Young Man (1955), Outbreak of Love (1957), and When Blackbirds Sing (1962)
  • In 1957, Martin won another ALS Gold Medal award, this time for A Difficult Young Man. 

Martin suffered from ill health for the last decade of his life. Now living in Rome, Italy; he was astonished to get an official letter from Canberra, a few days before Christmas 1971. The Commonwealth Literary Fund, had awarded him $1000, and a life pension of $30 a week; out of regard for his part in the development of the literature of Australia.

Martin Boyd died from cancer on 3 June, 1972, just days after being received into the Catholic Church. Despite this, he was buried near the poets John Keats and Percy Bysse Shelley in Rome’s Protestant ‘English Cemetery‘.

  • The two images featured: a sketch Athlete’s Head (1963) by Martin Boyd and Rosebud (1939) by Arthur Boyd, feature in Martin’s autobiography Day of My Delight: An Anglo-Australian Memoir

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“Is It Art?”

Source: Boyd, Martin. Day of My Delight: An Anglo-Australian Memoir. Lansdowne Press: Dee Why West, 3rd ed. 1979
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Edith Boyd | The Green Parasol and Nasturtiums

Australian artist, dramatist, and painter, Edith Susan Gerard Anderson (later, Edith Susan Boyd) was born on 16 February, 1880, in Brisbane, Queensland. She was the daughter of John Gerard Anderson, the head of the Department of Public Instruction, and Edith Sarah Wood. Her brother Arthur was a prominent doctor, and her eldest sister Maud was one of the first women to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree, from the University of Sydney, making her possibly Queensland’s first female university graduate.

Edith Anderson attended the Slade School in London in 1905, and also lived in Paris, modeling for the Australian artist Emanuel Phillips Fox. Anderson lived with Phillips Fox and his wife, Ethel Carrick Fox, at their Paris studio-home in the Cité fleurie, 65 Boulevard Arago, in Montparnasse, south of the Luxembourg Gardens. Phillips Fox gave Anderson painting lessons based on the Impressionistic style, that he learned when he attended the National Gallery School in Melbourne (1878-1886).

As a model, Anderson was known for her bright red hair, which features in many of Phillips Fox’s works. Many of the paintings she modeled for, were painted in-situ, in the small central courtyard, located in the Phillips Fox studio-apartment.  She appeared in up to seven possible paintings in 1912, including The Green Parasol, On the Balcony, Nasturtiums, and Mrs. Penleigh Boyd. 

  • Anderson met her husband, Australian painter Theodore Penleigh Boyd, during this trip to Paris. Phillips Fox introduced Penleigh Boyd to Anderson, when Boyd worked in the studio next door to them.
  • Boyd and Anderson married in Paris, on 15 October 1912; with Anderson being ‘given away’ by Fox because of their close friendship. Notable guests at the Anderson-Boyd wedding include Rupert Bunny and Bessie Gibson.
  • In 1912, following their wedding, Edith Susan Boyd (as she was now to be known) and Penleigh Boyd took their honeymoon to Chartres, Mentone, Rome, Florence, and Venice.
  • In 1913, the couple then returned to Melbourne, Australia where their first child, Pamela Boyd, was born, but sadly died two weeks later.

In 1914, the couple moved to Warrandyte, where Penleigh Boyd built the couple a home studio, known as “The Robins”. Edith Boyd gave birth to her second child, John a Beckett Boyd (1915–1980), known as Pat Boyd, in 1915.

In 1917, Penleigh Boyd enlisted in the First Australian Imperial Force (AIF). He was gassed in Ypres, in 1917, and was left with lasting physical problems. Edith reunited with Penleigh after he was sent to England; and then later repatriated to Australia, in March, 1918. On 3 January, 1919, Edith gave birth to their second son, Robin Boyd (1919–1971) at Armadale, Melbourne. [Robin Boyd became an influential Australian architect, writer, teacher, and social commentator].

In 1922, the Boyd’s sold “The Robins“, and moved to Sydney. Penleigh was hired by Sydney Ure Smith, as one of the organizers of a major exhibition of contemporary European art. Because of this opportunity, the Boyd’s moved to England to select paintings for this exhibition. Penleigh returned to Australia without Edith and the children, in June, 1923, due to tumultuous marriage troubles. It was during this separation, that he cheated on Edith, by having a brief affair with Minna Schuler, a Melbourne socialite, who was the daughter of the editor of The Age newspaper.

  • Before Edith and the children returned to Australia, Penleigh bought back “The Robins“, and purchased a new Hudson car.
  • On 24 November, 1923, Edith met Penleigh at the Port Melbourne shipping terminal; however, the couple began to argue immediately.
  • On 28 November 1923, Penleigh Boyd died when he crashed his Hudson car, whilst speeding, near Warragul, in Victoria, on his way to Sydney.
  • Penleigh Boyd is was buried at the Brighton Cemetery in Victoria.

After Penleigh’s death, Edith began writing dramas that were staged by repertory companies, as well as radio plays, for the Australian Broadcasting Commission. Following the sale of  “The Robins“, Edith moved to one of the oldest apartment blocks in Toorak. She later bought a house in Malvern East in 1927. Edith Susan Boyd died in the Melbourne suburb of East Burwood, on 31 March, 1961.

Three of Emmanuel Phillips Fox’s portraits of Edith were held by the Boyd family, including his Belle Époque period portrait of Edith, Nasturtiums (1912). This work was purchased in 2011 at an auction by the Society of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, serving as a memorial to Margaret Olley, a renown Sydney artist and patron of the gallery, who died a few months earlier.

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Source: Boyd, David. An Open House: Recollections of My Early Life (2012)
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Penleigh Boyd | From Penleigh House

British born Australian landscape artist, Theodore Penleigh Boyd was born on 15 August, 1890, at Penleigh House, Westbury, Wiltshire in England. Penleigh Boyd was a member of the Boyd artistic dynasty and he received his artistic training from his artist parents, Arthur Merric Boyd (1862–1940), and Emma Minnie Boyd (née à Beckett), and at the National Gallery Art School. His brothers included the ceramicist and potter, Merric Boyd (1888–1959); the novelist Martin Boyd, (1893–1972), and; sister Helen Read à Beckett Boyd (1903–1999), who also painted.

Penleigh had his first exhibition at the Victorian Artists’ Society at 18, and exhibited at the Royal Academy, in London, at 21. He won second prize in the Australian Government’s competition, for a painting of the site of the new national capital, Canberra. He also won the Wynne Prize, in 1914, with Landscape. Penleigh had a talent for the handling of evanescent effects of light, which he may have learned from fellow artist, Emmanuel Phillips Fox, who introduced him to plein air techniques, when they were neighbours in Paris, in 1912–1913.

  • Penleigh had travelled to Europe in 1911. He met Queensland-born, Edith Susan Gerard Anderson, a model for Phillips Fox’s paintings; and Penleigh and Edith married in Paris, on 15 October, 1912. The couple returned to Australia in 1913, and settled in Melbourne.
  • Edith was a skilled painter, and also came from a cultivated family. Her father had been Director of the Queensland Department of Public Instruction. Her brother Arthur, was a prominent doctor, and her eldest sister Maud, was one of the first women to graduate with a Bachelor or Arts degree, from the University of Sydney.
  • Their first child, Pamela, was born in the spring of 1913, but she died two weeks later.

In 1914, with his painting career flourishing, Penleigh purchased a block of land at Warrandyte, and built a family home and studio, naming it “The Robins“. The Boyd’s second child John á Beckett Boyd (known as Pat) was born in 1915. Soon after, Penleigh enlisted and served with the Mining Corps of AIF during World War I. Unfortunately, Penleigh was gassed and injured at Ypres, in 1917, which left him with lasting physical problems. He was invalided back to England, and repatriated to Australia, in March, 1918.

The Boyd’s second son Robin Gerard Penleigh Boyd, was born in January, 1919. Penleigh continued to paint prolifically for the rest of his life, although his war service also left permanent psychological scars. In 1922, he sold “The Robins“, and moved the family to Sydney. Penleigh was invited to help organise a major exhibition of contemporary European art, to be staged in Australia, so, he and his family travelled to England to select various artworks. Penleigh returned to Australia on his own, to set up the exhibition; leaving his family back in England.

At the end of the exhibition, Penleigh became disillusioned with his work, and he destroyed many of his lesser paintings, and sold some of his better ones. During this period, whilst his wife and family were still overseas, he carried an open affair with Minna Schuler, the daughter of the editor of The Age newspaper. Shortly before Edith and the children returned to Australia, Penleigh bought back “The Robins” as well as purchasing a new Hudson car. He met his family off the ship, at Port Melbourne, on their return, but he and Edith quarrelled almost immediately.

  • On 27 November, 1923, for unknown reasons, Penleigh drove in the Hudson, to Sydney. Although a skilled driver, he lost control on a sharp bend near Warragul and the car overturned. His passenger survived, but Penleigh suffered terrible injuries and died at the scene within minutes.

Fortunately for Edith, the money from his estate (including the proceeds of the sale of “The Robins“, the repaired car and about 40 paintings), plus a small inheritance from her father, and an annual allowance from Penleigh’s father, Edith could support their sons Pat and Robin without needing to work, even during the depths of the Great Depression.

  • Pat (1915–1980), became a painter, wartime pilot, and later a commercial aviation pilot, and married Anne Davy.
  • Robin (1919–1971), was a distinguished influential Melbourne architect, educator, writer, and social commentator; who married Patricia Madder, (daughter of Læticia Gough, a sister to Doris (nee Gough) Boyd (who married Penleigh’s brother Merric Boyd).

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“Is It Art?”

Source: McCulloch Alan. Encyclopedia of Australian Art. Hutchinson Richmond 1977

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Doris Boyd | The Wife of Australian Studio Pottery


Australian artist, painter and ceramicist, Doris Lucy Eleanor Bloomfield Boyd (née Gough), was born on 20 November, 1888. Doris Gough was the youngest of six children, born to Victorian Naval Forces Lieutenant, Thomas Bunbury Gough, and Evelyn Anna Walker Gough (née Rigg). Doris grew up in an unusual household, in which her mother’s buoyant spirit, radical politics and Christian Science faith contrasted with her father’s conservative background and temperament. Her family line ran directly back to Thomas Bunbury Gough, a Dean of Derry, brother to the great soldier Hugh Gough, the 1st Viscount Gough.

Bunbury Gough was a Lieutenant in the Victorian Navy from 1885-1888. As Lieutenant, he was in charge of running the HMVS Cerberus, when the Commander was not on board. Outside of his naval career in Victoria, he worked variously as a merchant, as an insurance agent, and as a commission agent, as did his father-in-law. Evelyn was co-proprietor of The Sun: A Society Courier.

Doris Gough studied under Bernard Hall and Frederick McCubbin at the National Gallery School where she met Merric Boyd, a fellow student and potter. Boyd came from a background of artists who collectively formed the Boyd family dynasty. In 1915, she married him, and together they raised five children:

  • Lucy Evelyn Gough Boyd (1916–2009), painter, ceramic decorator, who married Hatton Beck (1901–1994), ceramist, potter and sculptor.
  • Arthur Merric Bloomfield Boyd (1920–1999), painter, who married Yvonne Lennie, painter.
  • Guy Martin à Beckett Boyd (1923–1988), early poet, potter and sculptor, married Phyllis Emma Nairn.
  • David Fielding Gough Boyd (1924–2011), potter, painter, married Hermia Lloyd-Jones, ceramic decorator, artist and stage designer.
  • Mary Elizabeth Boyd (1926–2016), a pottery enthusiast and photographer who firstly married, John Perceval, painter, potter, and sculptor, and had four children. and later, Sir Sidney Nolan, painter, becoming Lady Nolan.

Doris decorated many of Merric Boyd’s works from 1920-1930. These were mostly pieces for domestic use, featuring Australian flora and fauna. Sadly, the Boyd’s Murrumbeena studio and Merric’s pottery were destroyed by fire in 1926.

With a strong faith in Christian Science, Doris influenced her husband, an epileptic, to convert in his latter years. She died on 13 June 1960, nine months after Merric. They are buried side by side at Brighton General Cemetery, Caulfield South, Victoria, Australia.

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“Is It Art?”

Source: McCulloch Alan. Encyclopedia of Australian Art. Hutchinson: Richmond, 1977
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William Merric Boyd | The Father of Australian Studio Pottery

Australian artist, ceramicist and sculptor, William Merric Boyd, known as Merric Boyd was born in the Melbourne suburb of St. Kilda, on 24 June, 1888. He has become “the father of Australian studio pottery”. The second son of Arthur Merric and Emma Minnie Boyd, Merric is one of the many generations of the Boyd dynasty, which includes painters, sculptors, architects and other arts professionals. His siblings included:

  • Eldest, John Gilbert à Beckett Boyd (1886–1896) who was killed in a riding accident,
  • Theodore Penleigh Boyd (1890–1923), a landscape artist, who married fellow painter Edith Susan Gerard Anderson,
  • Martin à Beckett Boyd (1893–1972), a writer, and;
  • Helen Read à Beckett Boyd (1903–1999), a painter, who married naval officer, Neven Read.

Growing up, Merric Boyd lived in Sandringham, where he was educated at nearby Haileybury College, until he was eight. The family moved permanently to the family farm at Yarra Glen and Boyd attended Dookie Agricultural College, with aspirations of turning his hand to farming; and then he considered entering the Church of England as a clergyman, spending time studying at St John’s Theological College, Melbourne.

Merric married painter Doris Gough (1889-1960), and together, they founded their home at Wahroongaa Crescent, Murrumbeena, naming it “Open Country“. It was here, that Merric established the pottery kilns in 1911, and is said to be Australia’s first ceramic artist. Merric Boyd and family were supported financially by Merric’s maternal grandmother Emma à Beckett. It was Emma’s fortune, inherited from her father John Mills, an ex-convict who founded the Melbourne Brewery, that allowed their family to live comfortably.

Merric evolved a style of pottery decoration, based on Australian botanical and animal motifs, towards the end of his life. Merric made many primitive studies of plant and animal life in coloured crayons, establishing a continuance of artistic tradition to the name Boyd. It was in Murrumbeena, that he and Doris raised a young family of further Australian artists and painters, including:

  • Lucy Evelyn Gough Boyd (1916–2009), painter, ceramic decorator, who married Hatton Beck (1901–1994), a ceramist, potter, and sculptor.
  • Arthur Merric Bloomfield Boyd (1920–1999), painter, married Yvonne Lennie, painter.
  • Guy Martin à Beckett Boyd (1923–1988), early poet, potter, sculptor, who married Phyllis Emma Nairn.
  • David Fielding Gough Boyd (1924–2011), potter, painter, married Hermia Lloyd-Jones, a ceramic decorator, artist, and stage designer.
  • Mary Elizabeth Boyd (1926–2016), a pottery enthusiast and photographer who married firstly, John Perceval, painter, potter, and sculptor, and had four children; and later, Sir Sidney Nolan, painter, becoming Lady Nolan.

William Merric Boyd died on 09 September, 1959.

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“Is It Art?”

Source: McCulloch Alan. Encyclopedia of Australian Art. Hutchinson: Richmond, 1977
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Meet Minnie | The Mother of the Boyd Dynasty

Australian artist Emma Minnie Boyd was born Emma Minnie à Beckett, on 23 November, 1858. She is part of the artistic Boyd dynasty, which began with Emma and her husband Arthur Merric and their art work, which influenced their children and grandchildren, to pursue their own artistic careers.

Emma Minnie à Beckett was the second of six children to The Hon. William Arthur Callendar à Beckett (1833–1901) and Emma Mills à Beckett (1838–1906). Her father was the eldest son of Sir William à Beckett, first Chief Justice of Victoria, and à Beckett became a magistrate of the colony of Victoria in 1862, but later resided at Penleigh House, Westbury, Wiltshire. He married Emma Mills, in September 1855, the only child and heiress of John Mills, of Melbourne, who attained great fortune. The young Emma Minnie was known by her second name “Minnie”, so as not to be confused for her mother.

Partly thanks to her mother’s fortune, Minnie grew up in Melbourne. From an early age, she showed an interest in the arts, and her family would indulge her, by posing for her early portraits. Her parents were well off and supporters of the arts. They encouraged her and were able to support her through her studies at the National Gallery of Victoria School where she exhibited regularly, while studying.

  • Minnie became a prolific painter and exhibited her work frequently. She was a contemporary of Australian artists such as, James Conder, Arthur Streeton, Frederick McCubbin and Tom Roberts and the other artists from the Heidelberg School. She also worked with landscape watercolour artist, Louis Buvelot.

Minnie married aspiring painter, Arthur Merric Boyd, in 1886, and together they became the first members of many generations of artists of the Boyd family. They met while they were at art school together. The à Beckett’s were able to give the young couple and their children the means to pursue careers in the arts. They had five children, four of whom became prominent in the Australian artistic world.

  • Gilbert was born in 1886, but was tragically killed in a fall from a horse in 1896, Merric was born in 1888, Penleigh in 1890, Martin in 1893, and their youngest and only daughter Helen, in 1903.

In 1890, the Boyd’s went to Europe to work, where their work was shown at the Royal Academy of the Arts. The loss of family investments in the crash of the Melbourne land boom, brought Emma and her husband back to Melbourne, where she taught art students in her city studio.

Minnie exhibited publicly between 1874-1932. This included the Victorian Artists Society, the Centennial International Exhibition 1888 (Melbourne), the Royal Academy of Arts (London), and in a joint show with her husband at Como House, in Melbourne in 1902, amongst other venues.

  • After living in Wahroongaa Crescent, Murrumbeena, Minnie and Arthur Merric moved to 5 Edward Street, Sandringham, in 1924. She died at Sandringham on 13 September 1936, survived by her husband and two of her sons and her daughter.

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“Is It Art?”

Source: McCulloch Alan. Encyclopedia of Australian Art. Hutchinson: Richmond 1977 and Gleeson, James. Australian Painters. Lansdowne Press; Sydney, 1976.
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Arthur Merric | The Father of the Boyd Dynasty

Australia’s famous Boyd family of artists began with distinguised watercolourist, Arthur Merric Boyd I (or Senior), one of twelve children, born on 19 March 1862 in Opoho, Dunedin, New Zealand; son of Captain John Theodore Thomas Boyd (1825–1891), formerly of County Mayo, Ireland, and his wife Lucy Charlotte, daughter of Dr Robert Martin of Heidelberg, Victoria.

The Boyd family moved to Australia in the mid-1870s, and on 14 January 1886, Arthur Merric Boyd married Emma Minnie à Beckett, also an artist and known as Minnie, daughter of the Hon. W. A. C. à Beckett of Melbourne. They had five children:

  • John Gilbert à Beckett Boyd (1886–1896) killed in a riding accident
  • William Merric Boyd (1888-1959) a ceramicist and known as Merric
  • Theodore Penleigh Boyd (1890-1923) a painter known as Penleigh
  • Martin à Beckett Boyd (1893-1972) a writer, and
  • Helen à Beckett Boyd (1903-1999), also a painter and married Neven Read.

In 1890, Arthur Merric and Minnie moved to England and lived for a time at Penleigh House, Westbury, Wiltshire, and they both submitted works for the Royal Academy exhibition in 1891. Boyd then travelled and painted whilst on the European continent and returned to Australia towards the end of 1893.

  • When their children had matured, married or settled elsewhere, Arthur Merric and Minnie lived in a connecting property to their son, Merric Boyd and family, in Wahroongaa Crescent, Murrumbeena.
  • Later on, in 1924, Arthur Merric and Minnie moved to 5 Edward Street, Sandringham. When his wife died on 13 September 1936, at Sandringham, Arthur Merric moved to a family cottage at Rosebud on the Mornington Peninsula on the shores of Port Phillip and;
  • In 1939, he returned to Wahroongaa Crescent, Murrumbeena, where he lived out his last days on his son Merric’s property, until his death, on 30 July, 1940.

Arthur Merric Boyd senior was principally a watercolourist, and represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Geelong Art Gallery.

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“Is It Art?”

Source: McCulloch, Alan. Encyclopedia of Australian Art. Hutchinson: Richmond, 1977
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Jean-Pascal Fournier and the Legends of Blood and Light

J P Fournier | Trobar de Morte | Legends of Blood & Light

J P Fournier | Trobar de Morte | Legends of Blood & Light

Freelance artist and illustrator Jean-Pascal Fournier was born near Grenoble, France, in 1972. Since he was a young child, Fournier has been fascinated with comic strips which drew him into his interest in art and drawing. He later studied art and worked in advertising before commencing studies at the Emile Cohl School of art at Lyon in 1992, where he focussed on the art of illustration and figurative/realistic painting. In 1995, Fournier obtained a Diploma in these two domains and in the following year, began to devote himself to illustration. He moved into cover art illustration for some well-established extreme metal labels and bands such as Immortal, Demoniac, Diabolical Masquerade, Yearning or Impaled Nazarene.

In 1999, Fournier turned to freelance artistry for many CD covers for other metal bands including Edguy, Avantasia, Steel Attack, Dragonforce or Powerquest to name but a few. As a classical hard rock and heavy metal lover since he was 25, Fournier has completed more than 100 cover artworks. As well as cover illustration, Fournier has also created band logos  for Cellador, Cryonic Temple, Dragonforce, Elvenking, Forgotten Realm, Intense, Magica, Hurlement to name but a few.

  • Fournier has other passions from mineralogy and paleontology, collecting old manuscripts from 17th to 19th Centuries and claims his greatest influencer in the history of painting, is the Venetian maestro Giambatista Tiepolo.

Image above is from the CD cover artwork from Trobar de Morte’s Legends of Blood and Light (2008). Trobar de Morte is one of my favourite bands hailing from Barcelona, Spain. Their music covers a diverse selection of Medieval, Folk, Faeric, Celtic and Pagan genres. It features the Spanish instrumentalist singer-songwriter Lady Morte, a former member of Ordo Funebris (also worth a listen).

  • For further information on Jean-Pascal Fournier visit his website.

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Choq a Bloc | Dunnies and All

French street artist Choq was born in Paris, but has spent much time in Melbourne, Australia during the years from 2012-2019, often preferring to spend time in the Australian summer, to that of a cold European winter.

Choq spent his early years, growing up in the gritty outer suburbs of Paris, the world’s most “romantic” city. With an intimate knowledge of the city’s “dark underbelly”, his street art often reflects what both he and others can often relate to.

Choq’s work subtlety reflects his inner most personal longings, his dreams and his goals. These are all expressed in his trademark cartoon caricatures. His  art explores complex themes, and attempts to offer a satirical critique of the modern world. His work crosses socio-economic values and ties, in an attempt to bring people together as a whole, and forget about superficial differences.

  • Above are some images taken from my ‘archive’ from some years ago, when Choq painted large murals around a public toilet block “dunny” on the corner of Lennox Street and Bridge Road, Richmond; an inner city suburb of Melbourne. The four monochrome images on the toilet walls represent the four seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Another is an image of an Australian football player, a game often referred to locally as “Aussie Rules”.

The final image, appeared on a brick wall of an ‘often well-drawn’ side street, off Swan Street, Richmond.

  • You can follow Choq on his Instagram account, to see more recent art.

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Time to Escape to the Country

Adolf Eberle | The pet lamb (61x78cm)
[The Pet Lamb wood on panel]

German painter Adolf Eberle was born in Munich, on 11 January, 1843. His father, Robert Eberle, was also a painter. Adolf Eberle studied under Karl von Piloty at the Academy of Fine Arts, in Munich, in 1860. He achieved success the following year in 1861, with a painting called Pfändung der letzten Kuh (Mortgaging the last cow), of which William Unger made an engraving.

Eberle specialised in genre painting, particularly of Bavarian and Tyrolean farmers and huntsmen. However, after spending time depicting soldiers in the Thirty Years’ War and the Seven Years’ War, he returned to subjects from Bavarian and Tyrolean peasant life.

  • At the 1879 international exposition in Munich, his Erster Rehbock (First stag) was well received.
  • A painting of his with the translated title Childhood Fun was sold for $16,800 at Bonhams art auction, in San Francisco, in 200, and; another with the translated title The Day’s Bag, sold for £7,500, at Christie’s auction house in London, in 2012.

Adolf Eberle died in Munich, on 24 January, 1914.

In 1952, Eberlestraße was named after him, in the Solln district of Munich.

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Maurice Utrillo | The Master of Art in Montmartre

French artist Maurice Utrillo was born Maurice Valadon, on Christmas night, 25 December, 1883, at 3 Rue la Poteau, next door to the Church of Notre-Dame de Cligancourt. in the Montmartre quarter of Paris, France. Utrillo was the illegitimate son of the artist Suzanne Valadon (born Marie-Clémentine Valadon), who was then, an eighteen-year-old artist’s model. She never revealed who the father was. Speculation rose that the father could be an equally young amateur painter named Boissy, the well-established painter Pierre-Cécile Puvis de Chavannes, or even with Auguste Renoir, all of whom Valadon had modelled for.

  • In 1891, Catalan journalist, artist and art critic, Miquel Utrillo (aka Miquel Utrillo i Morlius), signed a legal document acknowledging paternity; although questions remained as to whether he was in fact the child’s father.

Suzanne Valadon’s mother was left to raise the young Maurice Utrillo, who soon showed a troubling inclination towards truancy and alcoholism. When a mental illness took hold of the 21-year-old Utrillo in 1904, his mother encouraged him to take up painting. He soon showed true artistic talent. With no training beyond what his mother taught him, the young Utrillo drew and painted what he saw around Montmartre.

Utrillo became a French artist of the School of Paris movement, who specialised in local cityscapes, and became one of the few famous painters, who were born in Montmartre. After 1910, his work attracted critical attention, and by 1920 he was internationally acclaimed. In 1928, the French government awarded Utrillo the Cross of the Légion d’honneur.

In middle age, Utrillo became fervently religious, and in 1935, at the age of 52, he married Lucie Valore and moved to Le Vésinet, outside of Paris. By then, he was too ill to work in the open air and painted landscapes viewed from windows, postcards, or painted from memory.

  • Although his life was plagued by alcoholism, Utrillo lived into his seventies. He died on 5 November, 1955 at the Hotel Splendid, in Dax of a lung disease; and was buried in the Cimetière Saint-Vincent in Montmartre.

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 Source: Dorival, Bernard. The School of Paris, Thames & Hudson: London, 1962
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All the World’s a Stage in a Mid-Century Trans-Continental Age

Hans Wild | Svetlana Beriosova

Hans Wild | Svetlana Beriosova

[Svetlana Beriosova photographed by Hans Wild (1957)]

Lithuanian-British prima ballerina Svetlana Nikolayevna Beriosova was born in Kaunas, Lithuania, on 24 September 1932. Svetlana Beriosova was the daughter of Nicolas Beriosoff, a Lithuanian ballet master of ethnic Russian descent, who immigrated to England. Beriosova went to the United States in 1940, where she studied ballet. Her mother died in New York, when she was 10 years old.

Beriosova danced with The Royal Ballet for over 20 years. She made her professional debut in 1947 with the Ottawa Ballet. In 1952, after appearing with several major companies, including the Grand Ballet de Monte Carlo and the Metropolitan Ballet, Beriosova joined the Sadler’s Wells Ballet, where she became prima ballerina in 1955.

Notable among her leading roles were Swanilda in Coppélia, which allowed Beriosova to showcase her rarely used comic talent. She was better known for her eloquent and elegant classical style, which was highlighted in her many leading roles, such as:

  • Princess Belle Rose in John Cranko’s The Prince of the Pagodas (1957),
  • the Fairy in Kenneth MacMillan’s Le Baiser de la fée (The Fairy’s Kiss, 1960), and
  • Lady Elgar in Frederick Ashton’s Enigma Variations (1968).
  • She also performed as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, and the title role in Giselle.

As well as dancing the entire classical repertoire, Beriosova created the leading part in several modern ballets, notably the title role in Cranko’s Antigone (1959). In one of her more unusual modern parts, the title role of Ashton’s Persephone (1961), she recited André Gide’s poetry in French, whilst dancing to the music of Igor Stravinsky.

Beriosova’s was married to psychoanalyst Masud Khan in 1959, ending in divorce after 15 years, in 1974. Plagued by illness and injuries, Beriosova performed very little in the 1970s. She retired in 1975, but continued to coach young dancers. On her retirement from dancing, she became a popular teacher and dancers’ coach, working in public onstage in Maina Gielgud’s Steps, Notes and Squeaks in 1978 and 1980.

  • Beriosova sadly died from cancer, on 10 November, 1998, aged 66, in Kensington, London.

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Source: Haskell, Arnold L. The Ballet Annual 1957

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An Idle Afternoon with the ‘Parisian of Philadelphia’

Julius L Stewart | An idle afternoon 84 53x100cmAn Idle Afternoon (1884)

American artist Julius LeBlanc Stewart, was born on September 6, 1855, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father, the sugar millionaire William Hood Stewart, moved the family from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Paris in 1865, and became a distinguished art collector and an early patron of Marià Fortuny and the Barbizon artists. Julius Stewart studied art at the École des Beaux-Arts, and was later a pupil of Raymondo de Madrazo.

  • A contemporary of fellow expatriate artist John Singer Sargent, Stewart was nicknamed ‘The Parisian from Philadelphia’. Stewart exhibited regularly at the Paris Salon from 1878 into the early 20th century, and helped organise the “Americans in Paris” section of the 1894 Salon.

Stewart’s family wealth enabled him to live a lush expatriate life; and paint what he pleased, often large-scaled group portraits. Many of these depicted his family and friends, including actresses, celebrities and aristocrats; often with a self-portrait, somewhere in the crowd. He painted a series of sailing pictures aboard James Gordon Bennett, Jr.’s yacht Namouna. The most accomplished of these, On the Yacht “Namouna”, Venice (Wadsworth Atheneum, 1890), depicts a sailing party, including the actress Lillie Langtry, on its deck. Another, Yachting on the Mediterranean (1896), set a record price for his works, selling for US$2.3 million, in 2005.

  • Although in his latter life, Stewart turned to religious subjects, he is best remembered for his Belle Époque society portraits and sensuous nudes. Julius Stewart died on January 4, 1919, in Paris, France.

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Five Stills By Vhils

Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto, also known as Vhils, is a prolific and varied street artist, who started out as a graffiti writer, in the early-to-mid 2000s. He claims that his street name Vhils, has no real meaning, but simply derives from the fastest set of letters he could apply in a hurry, while working illegally.

  • Born in 1987, Vhils grew up in Seixal, an industrialised suburb across the river from Portugal’s capital, Lisbon. He was deeply influenced by the transformations due to intensive urban development, which occurred during the 1980s and 1990s.

As a teenager, Vhils experimented with bleach and acids, as agents of destruction on train exteriors and poster sites. He then began using pneumatic drills, to excavate sections of walls, to create fascinating 3D murals. Vhils groundbreaking bas-relief carving technique, formed the basis of the Scratching the Surface project, and was first presented to the public at the VSP group exhibition in Lisbon in 2007, and; later at the Cans Festival, in London, in 2008.

  • Described as a contemporary urban archaeologist, Vhils has attained international status for his highly original works, using his signature method of creative destruction and delicate rebuilding of bas-relief sculpture, which protrudes from chiselled-back walls around the world, such as found in Southbank, London and in his native Portugal (See above images).

Since 2005, Vhils has presented his work in over 30 countries around the world; in solo and group exhibitions, site-specific art interventions, artistic events, and; projects in various contexts, from working with communities in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, to collaborations with reputed art institutions, such as:

  • The EDP Foundation (Lisbon),
  • Centre Pompidou (Paris),
  • Barbican Centre (London),
  • CAFA Art Museum (Beijing), and;
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art (San Diego), among others.

An avid art experimentalist, Vhils’ unique approach and artworks have received critical acclaim around the world, not only for his 3D carved murals, but also for his stencil painting, metal etching, pyrotechnic explosions and sculptural installations. He has also directed several music videos, short films, and one stage production.

  • Discover more about Vhils at his website

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Abel’s Able Artwork

Abel Pujol | Biblis changee en source (Ovid Metamorphoses, IX) 1898 88x145cmBiblis changee en souce (Ovid Metamorphoses IX)

French painter Alexandre-Denis-Abel de Pujol or Abel de Pujol  was born on 30 January, 1785 in Valenciennes, France. The illegitimate son and only child of the nobleman Alexandre-Denis-Joseph Mortry de Pujol, Baron de la Grave, (a powerful figure who served as advisor to the King, and was the founder of the Académie de Peinture et Sculpture in Valenciennes). Abel de Pujol studied there from the age of twelve, before completing his training in the studio of Jacques-Louis David in Paris.

De Pujol also took classes in anatomy, perspective, and architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.  He won a first-class medal at the Académie in 1806, and a second-class medal, at the Salon of 1810, and the same year, came second in the Prix de Rome competition. The following year, De Pujol won the Prix de Rome. His Death of Britannicus won gold medals, from both Louis XVIII, and Napoleon, in 1814, while a grisaille painting of The Preaching and Martyrdom of Saint Stephen, intended for the church of Saint-Etienne-du-Mont, was equally admired at the Salon of 1817, winning the prize for history painting.

  • De Pujol received a number of important official commissions, including three paintings for Versailles; and a ceiling painting for the Palais Royal.
  • A large allegorical ceiling painting of The Renaissance of the Arts, for the grand staircase of the Louvre, which was sadly destroyed in 1855.
  • Mural decorations for public buildings, such as the main hall of the Bourse, the Musée Charles X of the Palais du Louvre, the Galerie de Diane at Fontainebleau; and the Palais de Luxembourg.
  • Altarpieces and designs for stained-glass windows for several Parisian churches, including Saint-Sulpice, Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle, Saint-Roch, Saint-Denis-du-Saint-Sacrement, Saint-Thomas d’Acquin and the Madeleine. He also worked in the cathedral at Arras and the church of Saint-Pierre, in Douai.
  • In 1846, De Pujol was commissioned to paint a monumental canvas of Valenciennes, and in 1852, painted the ceiling of the staircase of the Ecole des Mines, at the Hôtel de Vendôme in Paris; which was to be one of his last major decorative schemes.

Admitted into the Legion of Honour, in 1822 and the Académie des Beaux-Arts, in 1835, De Pujol produced a handful of portraits, mainly of family and friends. He has shown all that he possesses; the science of the nude, the talent for modelling, the art of drapery; and, in confining himself to painting this vast decoration in monochrome, he has shown himself to be a ‘man of spirit.’ De Pujol died in Paris, on 29 September, 1861.

  • The largest extant collection of De Puljol’s drawings, amounting to almost 150 sheets, is in the collection of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Valenciennes.

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