Hegel's Owl
ISBN: 9780994306425
  • Year of publication: 2016

Hegel's Owl

The Life of Bernard Smith

By Sheridan Palmer

‘This is a full and frank account of a man who saw himself as, in his own words, “a bastard among them, taking notes.”’
– Terry Smith, Andrew W Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory, University of Pittsburgh

Bernard Smith began life as a ward of the State; he would go on to become the father of Australian art history. In 2008 Smith invited writer and art historian Dr Sheridan Palmer to write his biography. Bringing together years of interviews and insights through exclusive access to Smith’s papers and library, Palmer deftly reveals the unique character of an exceptional man.

For those interested in Smith and his writings, and the development of art history in Australia, Hegel’s Owl offers a rich exploration of the life of Australia’s foremost art historian and founding director of the Power Institute

About the Author

Sheridan Palmer is a Melbourne curator and art historian. She studied at the Victorian College of the Arts and has worked at the National Gallery of Australia and the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery. She has published extensively and curated exhibitions including The Goddess Grins: Albert Tucker and the female image (Heide Museum of Modern Art, 2007) and The Lake Hindmarsh Project (Jeparit and Melbourne, 2010). Sheridan holds Honorary positions at the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University and her first book, Centre of the Periphery: Three European Art Historians in Melbourne (2008), is a major study of the establishment of art history in Australia. Her biography of the eminent Australian art historian Bernard Smith continues the story of Australia’s modern cultural development, as well as offering a profound insight into the personal and public life of a major intellectual.

424 pages, paperback, 60 photos including 16-page colour insert, 234 (h) x 153 (w)  mm.


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