Important Australian + International Fine Art
9 May 2007

Arthur Boyd

(1920 - 1999)

oil on linen

122.0 x 152.0 cm

signed lower right: arthur Boyd

$120,000 - 150,000
Sold for $240,000 (inc. BP) in Auction 1 - 9 May 2007, Melbourne
Catalogue text

...The river itself, of course, is the most compelling image in many of these paintings of this period. Boyd has captured it in all its moods; quiet as floods begin to recede; ugly brown as it swells with water; dark, calm and green in summer when the land is parched; glowing pink at sunset.'1

Featuring the monolithic Pulpit Rock set against the romantic backdrop of changing light that follows dusk, the present Evening, Pulpit Rock, Shoalhaven is a lyrical meditation upon the immense physical presence of nature. A central feature of the Shoalhaven paintings executed during the eighties, Pulpit Rock has been compared by critics to the Mont Saint-Victoire of Cézanne's compositions and even, the haystacks and cathedrals that occupy Monet's oeuvre. Indeed, elaborating upon the religious significanceimbued in his repeated use of this motif, Hoff suggests '...in these paintingsof Pulpit Rock set between sky and water in an ambience of luminous space, Boyd restates the theme of the cyclic element in nature that had occupied him in the forties.'2

Acknowledging that he is religious 'in the sense that I am overawed by the marvelous things in the world and overawed by the awful things,'3 thus Boyd here celebrates the beauty and wonder of the natural world- all the while implying that unless steps are taken to preserve this wilderness for future generations, it will be destroyed: '...I'd like to feel that through my work there is a possibility of making a contribution to a social progression or enlightenment. It would be nice if the creative effort or impulse was connected with a conscious contribution to society, a sort of duty or service. I think you have to be able to make something which does involve concepts and ideas.'4

1. McGrath, S., The Artist and the Shoalhaven, Bay Books, Sydney, 1982, p.78
2. Hoff, U., The Art of Arthur Boyd, André Deutsch, London, p.78
3. Boyd cited in McKenzie, J., Arthur Boyd at Bundanon, Academy Editions, London, 1994, p.43
4. Boyd cited in Gunn, G., Arthur Boyd: Seven Persistent Images, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 1985, p.73