- Arts and Design
Australian Artists and Painters (#1): d'Arcy W Doyle
An Introduction to Australian Art
There is a plethora of articles on the Internet about famous artists and artworks. There is no shortage of information for example on The Impressionists such as Monet, Renoir and Degas; Post-Impressionists Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne etc.
There have been many other art movements throughout the world before and after these however, and even in the 20th Century we have paintings by the likes of Matisse, Picasso, Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo, Jackson Pollock, Norman Rockwell etc.
Although there is information available on Australian artists I find most of them are not widely known throughout the world and so with this series of articles (of which this is the first) I aim to introduce you to some of my favourite Australian painters and artists. I personally own a number of d'Arcy W doyle prints including "Midnight Mass" and a series of collectors plates.
I hope you enjoy the art and life of d'Arcy W Doyle.
d'Arcy W Doyle
Life and History
d'Arcy William Doyle was born in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia on 19 November 1932 into an Irish Catholic working-class family. In those years of the great depression, d'Arcy and his family experienced poverty and tough times. However, his father Thomas had secured employment as a railway man, which put the Doyles in a better position than many.
The Doyle family resided at 39 Darling Street, Ipswich, in southeast Queensland, and that house, its surroundings, and the family themselves figure prominently in many of d'Arcy's paintings. The purple flowering jacaranda tree was a central subject in much of his art as well.
d'Arcy displayed a keen interest in drawing from an early age. Surprisingly he was completely self-taught as an artist and although there were few opportunities for artists in his home town, he spent time studying and copying the work of local sign writers.
At 18 years of age, along with some friends, d’Arcy joined the Royal Australian Navy and served for seven years, seeing active service in the Korean War.
On leaving the navy, d’Arcy found work as a painter and sign writer and then in 1961, he had gained the confidence to make art his full-time career.
While working in Sydney during the 1960s, d’Arcy was commissioned to paint a mural on the walls of the Belmore Returned Services Club. This mural was so popular that he received many similar commissions from other clubs and businesses.
During one of those mural painting jobs, he was told by an impatient club official to remove his painting equipment from the function room where he was working as they wanted the room clean and tidy for a function to be held there that night. d'Arcy pleaded for more time, saying that the work was almost complete, and he wouldn't disturb anyone. The official became more disagreeable and insisted he leave, which he did. It was later found that, in retaliation and as a parting gesture, d'Arcy had painted a pink elephant in a prominent position within the mural.
While in Sydney, d'Arcy met Jennefer Taylor and In December 1968 they were married. The couple had two daughters, Samantha (born 1970) and Alexandra (born 1972).
d'Arcy Doyle returned with his family to Queensland in 1973, where they purchased a block of land on the Gold Coast. It was here that d'Arcy remained and continued working until his death on 28th August 2001 after battling bone cancer for almost a decade.
In 1990, after not feeling well while visiting Ireland, d'Arcy underwent some medical tests which revealed a diagnosis of bone cancer. Two years of painful treatment followed, and in January 1992 d'Arcy's doctors cautiously advised that they could find no further signs of the cancer. However, sadly the cancer returned a few years later to finally take his life.
d’Arcy Doyle had a deep love of the Australian bush and the subjects of horses, sheep, drovers, and farm life have a prominent place in his work. He was greatly Inspired by the well-known American illustrator Norman Rockwell, and his many street scenes depicting children's games and sport reflect this. d'Arcy Doyle’s paintings offer a nostalgic impression of post-war Brisbane and Ipswich of his childhood, as he remembered it.
One of d'Arcy's more famous paintings is entitled "The Cricket Match". This painting was the subject of a comparatively new marketing strategy, involving the production and sale of a limited edition of personally autographed prints. This method proved so successful that the first edition of 1,000 prints sold out quickly, leading to several re-prints.
That marketing strategy was repeated numerous times afterwards with many other d'Arcy Doyle paintings, and always with great results. A substantial number of his prints were widely licensed for use on calendars, biscuit tins, and decorative plates. His sentimental vignettes are so widely popular that the Australian Reproductions website estimates that as many as one in four Australian households have at least one of his prints.
After his death, the d'Arcy Doyle Art Awards was established to perpetuate his memory and to encourage and support others in creation of iconic Australian Art.
(source: Wikipedia; d'Arcy Doyle Art Awards)
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The legacy of one of Australia's most popular artists has been tainted by fakes, writes Eamonn Duff.
© 2015 John Hansen