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Bernard Smith Biography

(1916– )

sydney art essays australian

Australian art historian and cultural critic, born in Sydney where for many years he was Power Professor of Fine Art at Sydney University. He retired to Melbourne in 1977. Best known for his complementary pioneering studies European Vision and the South Pacific: A Study in the History of Art and Ideas (1960) and Australian Painting 1788–1960 (1962), he has also completed outstanding editorial work relating to the voyages of Captain Cook, and the artists who sailed with him. Throughout a long and distinguished career he committed himself to many challenging causes, including urban conservation and Aboriginal Land Rights. The prize-winning first volume of his autobiography, The Boy Adeodatus: The Portrait of a Lucky Young Bastard (1984), charts his hard early life and education in Sydney in rewarding detail. The Death of the Artist as Hero: Essays in History and Culture and The Critic as Advocate: Selected Essays 1941–1988 (both 1988) well represent his scholarly and forthright contributions on a wide range of important issues.

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