A member of the gifted Boyd family, and grandson of his namesake, the painter Arthur Merric Boyd, Arthur first attended night classes at Melbourne's National Gallery School in 1935. After a period overseas, Boyd returned to Australia and bought a property at Bundanon in NSW where he would paint some of his most famous landscape paintings.
Arthur Boyd was born at Murrumbeena, Victoria, on 24 July 1920, the son of the potter, sculptor and painter, Merric Boyd . He attended night classes at the National Gallery School, Melbourne, in 1935, and from 1936 to 1939 painted with his grandfather, Arthur Merric Boyd, with whom he lived in his cottage at Rosebud on the Mornington Peninsula.
Boyd was conscripted following the outbreak of the Second World War and served in the Army Survey Corps from 1941 to 1944. After the war he established the Arthur Merric Boyd Pottery Workshop at Murrumbeena, with John Perceval and Peter Herbst. He turned for inspiration to the Bible, as a means of expressing something of the horror of the war. During the 1950s he painted poetic views of the luminous Wimmera landscape. In 1957 he began his Half-Caste Bride series of paintings, raising contentious issues about the assimilation of mixed-blood Aboriginals.
Following his father’s death in 1959 Boyd moved to England, to Sussex where he mostly lived. But his imagery remained tied to his Australian background, conveying an inner emotional vision rather than describing the external world; telling stories which symbolise human passions such as love, wickedness and aggression, often located within bush settings. He returned to Australia in 1971 and later bought a property at Bundanon on the Shoalhaven River, in southern New South Wales, where he painted many of his later landscapes. Arthur Boyd gave a large collection of approximately 200 paintings, 1000 drawings and about 800 prints as well as sculptures, ceramics and tapestries to the National Gallery of Australia in 1975. In 1993 the Boyd family gifted to Australia his studio and 405 hectares of property at Bundanon.