Free with Museum Pass
Arthur Boyd’s series Love, Marriage and Death of a Half Caste, more commonly known as the Brides, was painted between 1957 and 1960 after Boyd travelled to Central Australia. It represents a defining achievement in both the artist’s career and in Australian art of the twentieth century. A milestone in the advancement of local modernism and its humanist themes, the series offers a critique of Australia’s racial divide in the form of an invented love story.
The two main protagonists in the allegory—an Aboriginal man and his mixed-race bride—face the trials of a love thwarted by both personal and cultural conflict. They embark on a metaphorical journey that is traced symbolically through complex imagery denoting cyclical growth, decay, and renewal.
The Brides were produced in stages, with the initial sequence exhibited in Melbourne at Australian Galleries in 1958, then again with new additions at Zwemmer Gallery, London, in 1960. The series earned Boyd critical acclaim but was gradually dispersed across public and private collections around the world. In recent years many of the works have returned to Australia, providing an unprecedented opportunity to reunite them. Heide’s exhibition will present the core paintings of the series shown at the initial 1958 and 1960 exhibitions and related drawings and ceramic pieces alongside them.
In the News
Arthur Boyd’s Brides paintings reunited at Melbourne’s Heide Museum
Sasha Grishin, Sydney Morning Herald, January 30 2015
Heide launches biggest exhibition of Arthur Boyd’s Bride paintings ever seen
ABC Radio National, December 3 2014