National Gallery of Ireland announces appointment of new Director

Dr Caroline Campbell. Photo by John Goodall.Credit

Our Board of Governors and Guardians today announced the appointment of Dr Caroline Campbell as the new Director of the National Gallery of Ireland. Dr Campbell will take up her new position in November 2022, and will be the first female Director in the Gallery’s 158 year history

Born and raised in Belfast, Dr Campbell has spent her career in three leading international art museums as a curator and senior leader. She has held positions at the Ashmolean Museum, the Courtauld Gallery and the National Gallery, London. Since 2018 she has worked as Director of Collections and Research at the National Gallery, London. 

A graduate of the University of Oxford and the Courtauld Institute of Art, and an alumna of the Center for Curatorial Leadership in New York, Dr Campbell has an outstanding reputation for delivering research, engagement and digital programmes, illustrating her wide-ranging expertise in Western Art from the Middle Ages to the present day. She has curated several major exhibitions, published widely, and is active as a Trustee of several arts organisations in the UK.

Mary Keane, Chairperson of the Board of Governors and Guardians of the National Gallery of Ireland, commented: “The Board of the Gallery is delighted to make this announcement today. We are thrilled to have a person of Caroline’s calibre join the Gallery team and look forward to welcoming her later this year. Caroline’s impressive experience, knowledge and passion will inspire both the Gallery team and our visitors, and we eagerly anticipate seeing her vision for the Gallery brought to life in the coming years. Caroline will become the Gallery’s 14th Director, and her arrival will be groundbreaking as she will be the first woman director of the Gallery since it opened in 1864. The Board would like to thank outgoing Director Sean Rainbird for the innovation and skill he has brought to his role at the Gallery since 2012. It has been wonderful to work with him through the highs and the lows: everything from the once-in-a-lifetime moment of the Gallery reopening following refurbishment five years ago to navigating the challenging pandemic years. We wish him all the very best in the future.”

Dr Caroline Campbell commented:
“Visiting the National Gallery of Ireland as a teenager first inspired my interest in art, so it’s a huge pleasure to return now to a place that’s of such importance to me personally. Building on Sean Rainbird’s achievements, I look forward to working with the Board and the Gallery’s staff on this world-class collection, making its riches available to as wide an audience as possible both in Ireland and internationally through exhibitions, research and education.”

Our current Gallery Director Sean Rainbird, whose tenure ends in September, commented: “It has been an honour to lead the team at the National Gallery of Ireland for the past decade. I wish Caroline every success and look forward to seeing the Gallery prosper over the coming years.”

Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, London, says "Caroline has an established international reputation as a curator of Renaissance art and she has been an innovative exhibition curator. Since 2018 she has been an excellent Director of Collections and Research at the National Gallery in London. She is a gifted art historian and a highly talented communicator; she is a skilled manager and has an impressive network of professional contacts. Naturally we will miss her in London, but I wish her every success as Director of the National Gallery of Ireland where she will bring new vision and energy to one of Europe’s great national art collections. With Caroline at the helm in Dublin, I look forward to even closer collaboration with the National Gallery of Ireland."

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