Bernard William Smith (3 October 1916 – 2 September 2011) was an Australian art historian, art critic and academic.
Smith was born in
Balmain, Sydney to Charles Smith and Rose Anne Tierney on 3 October 1916. In 1941, he married his first wife, Kate Challis, who died in 1989. Smith married his second wife, Margaret Forster, in 1995.
Smith was educated at the
University of Sydney. Between 1935 and 1944 he taught in the NSW Department of Education. After that he served as an education officer for the Art Gallery of NSW country art exhibitions programme from 1944. In 1948, he won a scholarship to study at the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, University of London. On his return to Australia in 1951, Smith returned to his position at the art gallery. In 1952, Smith was awarded a research scholarship at the newly established Australian National University, where he completed a PhD.
He was a lecturer and then a senior lecturer in the
University of Melbourne's Fine Arts Department (1955–1967). In 1959, he convened a group of seven emerging figurative painters known as the Antipodeans, which organised its only exhibition in August 1959. Between 1963 and 1966, he worked as an art critic for newspaper, The Age Melbourne.
In 1967, the Smiths moved to Sydney, where Smith became the founding Professor of Contemporary Art and Director of the
Power Institute of Fine Arts, University of Sydney, a position he held until his retirement in 1977.
In 1977, the Smiths returned to Melbourne, and Smith became the president of the
Australian Academy of the Humanities, until 1980. Later, he was a professorial fellow in the department of Art History at the University of Melbourne.
Smith was a recipient, Chevalier, of the
Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Place, Taste and Tradition: a study of Australian art since 1788 Sydney: Ure Smith, 1945 (reprinted Melbourne: OUP, 1979)
A Catalogue of Australian Oil Paintings in the National Art Gallery of New South Wales 1875-1952 Sydney: The Gallery, 1953
European Vision and the South Pacific, 1768-1850: a study in the history of art and ideas Oxford, Eng.: Clarendon Press, 1960 (reprinted 1985)
Australian Painting Today: The John Murtagh Macrossan memorial lecture, 1961 St. Lucia, Qld: Queensland University Press, 1962
Australian Painting, 1788-2000 Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1962 (updated 1971; updated 1991 with Terry Smith; & update 2001 with Christopher Heathcote)
The Architectural Character of Glebe, Sydney (with Kate Smith), Sydney: University Co-operative Bookshop Press, 1973 (reprinted 1985)
Concerning Contemporary Art: the Power lectures, 1968-1973 (ed.) Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975
Documents on Art and Taste in Australia: the colonial period, 1770-1914 (ed.) Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1975
The Antipodean Manifesto: essays in art and history Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1975
Art as Information: reflections on the art from Captain Cook's voyages Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1979
The Spectre of Truganini Sydney: Australian Broadcasting Commission, 1980
The Boy Adeodatus: the portrait of a lucky young bastard Ringwood, Vic.: Allen Lane, 1984 (reprinted 1985, 1994)
The Art of Captain Cook's Voyages (with Rüdiger Joppien) Melbourne: Oxford University Press, three volumes, 1985–1987
The Death of the Artist as Hero: essays in history and culture Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1988
The Art of the First Fleet and Other Early Australian Drawings (eds Bernard Smith and Alwyne Wheeler), Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1988
Baudin in Australian Waters: the artwork of the French voyage of discovery to the southern lands 1800-1804 (eds J. Bonnemains, E. Forsyth and B. Smith) Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1988
Terra Australis: the furthest shore (eds W. Eisler and B. Smith) Sydney: International Cultural Corporation of Australia, 1988
The Critic as Advocate: selected essays 1941-1988 Melbourne: Oxford University Press Australia, 1989
Imagining the Pacific in the Wake of the Cook Voyages Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press at the Miegunyah Press, 1992
Noel Counihan: artist and revolutionary Melbourne; New York: Oxford University Press, 1993
Poems 1938-1993 Carlton, Vic.: Meanjin, 1996
Modernism's History: a study in twentieth-century art and ideas New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998
A Pavane for Another Time Sydney: Macmillan, 2002
The Formalesque Melbourne: Macmillian, 2007 (forthcoming)
Selected essays and articles 'European vision and the south pacific'
Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 8 (1950) 65-100 'Coleridge's Ancient Mariner and Cook's second voyage'
Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 19 (1956) 117-152
"Art Historical Studies in Australia with Comments on Research and Publication since 1974". Proceedings of the Australian Academy of the Humanities 12 (1982–83): 44–73 . Retrieved 2009-02-18.
"Sir Joseph Burke, 1913-1992". Proceedings of the Australian Academy of the Humanities 17 (1992): 46–49 . Retrieved 2009-02-19. 'Modernism and post-modernism: neo-colonial viewpoint—concerning the sources of modernism and post-modernism in the visual arts'
Thesis Eleven 38 (1994) 104-117 'Modernism, post-modernism and the formalesque',
Editions 20 (1994) 9-11
International Who's Who London: Europa Publications, 2000
The writings of Bernard Smith: bibliography 1938-1998 (ed. J. Spencer and P. Wright), Sydney: Power Publications, 2000