Sir William Dobell Art Foundation

The Sir William Dobell Art Foundation was formed in 1971 in memory of the Archibald prize-winning Australian artist Sir William Dobell (1899-1970), who was known for his landscapes and portrait paintings. The Foundation established the Sir William Dobell Chair of Art History at ANU, which it has continued to support for 30 years. This position has helped the College of Arts and Social Sciences support a teacher and researcher and strengthened the university's position as a leader in art history and curatorial studies. The Chair has been held by Professor Michael Greenhalgh and Professor Sasha Grishin, and in 2014 Professor Helen Ennis from the School of Art & Design was appointed to the position.


The current Chair is Professor Chris McAuliffe, Director Centre for Art History & Art Theory, ANU School of Art & Design.

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Current Chair

Professor Chris McAuliffe

Chris McAuliffe joined the School of Art & Design at ANU in 2015. From 2000–2013 he was Director of the Ian Potter Museum of Art, the University of Melbourne. He taught art history and theory at the University of Melbourne (1988-2000). In 2011-12, he was the Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at Harvard University. Chris has curated exhibitions in university and public art museums, including 'Robert Smithson: Time Crystals', University of Queensland Art Museum/Monash University Museum of Art (2018); 'America: Painting a Nation,' Art Gallery of NSW (2013); 'The Shilo Project,' Ian Potter Museum of Art, the University of Melbourne (2010). He devised the biannual Basil Sellers Art Prize (awarded for contemporary art on the theme of sport) which commenced in 2008. He has served on gallery and museum boards, including the Council of the National Gallery of Victoria. Chris has served on granting and acquisition committees for state and local government and has advised major corporations on art collection development. He has published extensively on Australian art, including monographs on Linda Marrinon (2007) and Jon Cattapan (2008). Chris McAuliffe’s research interests include nineteenth and twentieth century art (Australia and America) with a focus on earthworks (Robert Smithson), abstract expressionism (Jackson Pollock), art and sport, art and rock music. He is currently a partner in the ARC-funded research project ‘Fringe to Famous’ which examines the crossover between ‘alternative’ and ‘mainstream’ Australian cultural production since the 1980s.


Previous Chairs of the Sir William Dobell Chair of Art History​

Emeritus Professor Helen Ennis

Emeritus Professor Sasha Grishin

Emeritus Professor Michael Greenhalgh


Sir William Dobell Annual Lectures

Updated:  22 July 2020/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications