Power Institute of Fine Arts

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The Power Institute of Fine Arts is a teaching and research department, encompassing the fields of art history and theory, within the University of Sydney.


Founded in 1968, the institute was established out of a bequest from the expatriate Australian abstract artist John Wardell Power. The bequest provided for the establishment of a teaching department, a research library, and a gallery for contemporary exhibitions. [1]

John Wardell Power[edit]

John Wardell Power is the man who established the legacy of the teaching department which turned into the Power Institute of Fine Arts. He was born in the year of 1881 in the city of Sydney, Australia. He died in the year of 1943 in Jersey, Channel Islands. During his childhood, his mother was always encouraging him to continue with his art. In the year of 1905, John Power had graduated from the University of Sydney with Bachelor of Medicine. After his education, he went to London to continue with his medical studies. During the First World War, Power gained the rank of Captain when he served as a physician in the British Army. After he gave up the medical field, he enrolled as an art student in Paris. [1]


The institute has been especially active in developing and promoting the study of Australian art. Scholars associated with the Power Institute include Bernard Smith, Terry Smith, Virginia Spate and Roger Benjamin. The institute keeps their collection of material in the Schaeffer Fine Arts Library that was established in 1968. The library holds 22,000 books, 165,000 slides and digital images surveying art history, bound journal volumes, honors and higher-degree theses and essays, and non-book material. The Power Institute hosts and arranges national and international conferences.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "THE POWER INSTITUTE FOUNDATION FOR ART AND VISUAL CULTURE". The University of Sydney. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 

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