William Boissevain

Click here to view a Biography of this artist.

BORN 1927 New York

Paris and London

The son of a Dutch diplomat, Boissevain studied in Paris and London before coming to Australia in 1947. He has exhibited works in Western Australia and Sydney regularly since his arrival in Australia. He won the Helena Rubinstein Prize in 1961 and the Perth prize for Drawing International in 1971. Boissevain’s works are represented in several state Galleries as well as overseas collections. He is now currently residing in Western Australia. He had come to Perth to visit his mother in 1947 and liked the place so much he decided to stay.

On October the 21st 1998 a Coffee table book on William Boissevain was launched at an exhibition of his works at Stafford studios in Cottesloe. The book contains an essay on Boissevain’s life, plus dozens of images on Boissevain’s work.. He has lived in Shanghai, during W.W.II he was interned for nine months at a Shanghai hotel when the Japanese invaded China. He has also been a leading figure in the development of Western Australian Art in the post war period.

In the 1950’s and 60’s he was part of a part of a pioneering group of Artists such as Robert Juniper, George Haynes and Guy Grey – Smith who helped create a market for local artists.

His more famous artworks involve nudes, still life’s, and animals with the beauty which they all allude. His work has been selling well across the country, for more than four decades. He uses a variety of different mediums, mainly oils, but watercolour and pastels have previously been used.

In his own words about his art process from the International Artist Dec98/Jan99 issue:


In summer I find outdoor work too stressful, mainly because of the sun, and the realities of travelling many miles to the subject in question. I now do outdoor paintings in the winter.


I have developed a style of my own which relies strongly on outline and edges, which are formed by manipulating oil washes. A controlled effort is needed to cover the areas which are then charged with a thinner wash.

I must emphasise this is quite difficult to achieve, and very costly because of the quantity of oil required. However, with fairly brisk sales over the years, I have been in a fortunate position to develop and experiment with this technique, and all the ruined brushes, because the oil dries so fast. There are many problems as well as may pluses using this method, however I feel the overall result is worth it.”


1964/65/69/71 Skinner Gallery Perth
1976/86/90/95 Holdsworth Gallery, Sydney
1977 Earl Gallery, Geelong, Victoria
Holdsworth Gallery, Sydney
1979/84 Lister Gallery, Perth
1981 Holdsworth Gallery, Sydney
Lister Gallery, Perth
1983  Holdsworth Gallery, Sydney
Lister Gallery, Perth
1989 Bay Gallery of Fine Art, Perth
1994/97 Greenhill Galleries, Perth
1993/96/98 Stafford Studios of Fine art, Perth
1998 2000 Wagner Gallery, Sydney
2001    Stafford Studios of Fine art, Perth
Savill Galleries, Sydney
2002    Stafford Studios of Fine art, Perth
2004    Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery, Sydney
Stafford Studios of Fine art, Perth
2008 Wagner Gallery, Sydney


1959     Claude Hotchin Art Prize
1961 Helena Rubenstein Prize for Portraiture
1971    Perth Prize for Drawing International
Perth, Art Gallery of Western Australia
1978    Order of the British Empire


National Gallery, Canberra
Art gallery of Tasmania
Curtin University of Technology
Rural and Industries Bank, Perth
Orion Bank, Hong Kong and London
Art Gallery of Western Australia
Murdoch University
Premiers Department – Western Australia
Wesley College, Western Australia
Alcoa – Perth, Melbourne and the USA


National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart
University of Western Australia, Perth
Murdoch University, Perth
Curtin University, Perth
Premier’s Department, Perth
Bankwest, Perth
Orion Bank, London and Hong Kong
Alcoa Ltd
The Holmes a Court Collection
AMP, Perth
Burswood Management Corporation, Perth
Westfarmers Ltd, Perth
Joondalup Development Corporation, Perth
Malcolm Fraser
H.R.H. the Prince of Wales
Baroness Bentinck
Sir Val Duncan
Sir Vincent Fairfax
Sir William McMahon
Bailleau Myer
Garrick Agnew
Daniel Hill
David Addenbrooke and represented in the collections of astute art lovers in many countries