Arthur Boyd (1920-1999) Card Players, c.1955-57
Lot 6
Arthur Boyd
(1920-1999)
Card Players, c.1955-57
Sold for AU$ 122,000 (US$ 106,295) inc. premium

Lot Details
Arthur Boyd (1920-1999)
Card Players, c.1955-57
signed 'arthur Boyd' lower right
painted and glazed ceramic tile
29.5 x 44.5cm (11 5/8 x 17 1/2in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE
    Mr and Mrs W. A. K. a'Beckett, Melbourne
    Thence by descent
    Private collection, Melbourne
    Important Australian Art, Sotheby's, Melbourne, 11 April 2006, lot 12
    Private collection, Melbourne

    EXHIBITED
    Arthur Boyd, Whitechapel Gallery, London, June - July 1962, cat. 168

    LITERATURE
    Franz Philipp, Arthur Boyd, Thames & Hudson, London, 1967, cat. 6.78, pp. 71-72

    RELATED WORKS
    Arthur Boyd, Shearers Playing for a Bride, 1957, oil and tempera on canvas, 150.1 x 175.7cm, in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

    The early 1950's saw Arthur Boyd fully explore the possibilities of ceramic works. Boyd had a natural affinity for the medium and would hand-form the tiles before mixing coloured oxides with clay to a consistency similar to oil paint.

    Margaret Pont observed of Arthur Boyd's interest in the medium 'there was, at the time, a general resistance to ceramic works which were not considered part of mainstream art practice. Arthur made no such distinctions between various mediums and could appreciate the beauty and versatility of each. He recognised the unique qualities of each medium when the necessary techniques had been fully mastered'.1 Working at a greatly reduced scale, the ceramic works and tiles in particular offered the artist unique compositional challenges; motifs and narratives are compressed, dramatic and densely rendered.

    The Card Players, originally belonging to the artist's cousin, Mr W. (Bill) A. K. a'Beckett , was painted prior to Boyd's masterful Shearers playing for a Bride, 1957, now in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Memorable, difficult and enduring, the composition both in ceramic and canvas form revolves around what Ursula Hoff described as a 'strange Trinity of black men' 2, a motif which echoes the composition of Boyd's earlier masterpiece Abraham and the Angels, 1946. Inwardly focussed, the trio play with an intensity which excludes all else, the bride seemingly weightless as she floats above, bouquet held aloft. In both The Card Players, and oil, the bride's train is pinned beneath a player, her state reduced to that of chattel to be secured or lost on a hand of cards.


    Please note this work is to be exhibited in the forthcoming exhibition 'Arthur Boyd: Brides' at Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, from the 29th November 2014 - 9 March 2015.

    1 Margaret Pont, Arthur Boyd & Saint Francis of Assisi, MacMillan, Melbourne, 2004, p. 21
    2 Ursula Hoff, The Paintings of Arthur Boyd, Meanjin, XVII, no. 2, 1958, p. 146
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