In 2008 the prominent Australian art historian Bernard Smith invited Dr Sheridan Palmer to write his biography. Bringing together years of interviews and insight through exclusive access to Smith’s papers and library, Hegel’s Owl deftly reveals the unique character of an exceptional man, today acknowledged by many as the father of Australian art history.

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.

You can purchase the book here.


Hegel’s Owl will be officially launched with a series of public events and accompanying talks in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney:

Victorian Artists’ Society, 30 Albert St East Melbourne
Thursday 26 May | 6-8pm                                               

Book to be launched by Professor Peter Beilharz, Director, Thesis Eleven Centre, La Trobe University

National Library of Australia, Theatre, Lower Ground 1
Thursday 16 June | 6-8pm
Author talk by Sheridan Palmer. Book to be launched by Gerard Vaughan, Director, National Gallery of Australia
AUDIO RECORDING: Dr Gerard Vaughan AM, Director of the National Gallery of Australia, launches Hegel’s Owl: The Life of Bernard Smith, which reveals the unique character of an exceptional man.

Art Gallery of NSWCentenary Auditorium
Wednesday 20 July | 6-8pm
Lecture by Terry Smith, Andrew W Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory, University of Pittsburgh. A joint launch with Power Publications’ The Legacies of Bernard Smith: Essays on Australian Art, History and Cultural Politics, edited by Jaynie Anderson, Christopher R. Marshall and Andrew Yip
RSVP by email to: