Art Fund Director to step down after 17 years of campaigns and investment

By Culture24 Staff Published: 09 March 2009

A picture of a middle-aged man in a black blazer and white shirt

The Art Fund will launch their search for a successor to David Barrie immediately

The Director of the charity which has funded the purchase of more than 400,000 works of art with nearly £55 million in funding is to step down later this year.

David Barrie will leave his position as head of The Art Fund in May after 17 years in charge of the organisation.

“I am proud of what we have achieved in my time at The Art Fund with the help and support of our members, volunteers, and other partners,” announced Barrie, who has trebled the Fund’s membership and overseen key acquisitions including Botticelli’s Madonna and Child for the National Gallery of Scotland ten years ago and Artist Rooms at the Tate last year.

“I believe that art has the power to transform people’s lives, and that enabling as many people as possible to experience the greatest art at first hand is a cause worth fighting for. That is the simple purpose of The Art Fund, and it is becoming more, not less important in these difficult times.”

The charity embarked on a series of major campaigns under Barrie’s guidance, most notably winning free admission to all national museums in 2001, commissioning James Turrell’s Deer Shelter for Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2006 and saving institutions such as the Macclesfield Psalter and Dumfries House.

David Verey, Chairman of The Board of Trustees of The Art Fund, thanked Barrie for his “commitment and energy.”

“During his leadership, David has transformed The Art Fund into a highly effective modern charity, leading many successful campaigns to save some of the world’s greatest art for people across the UK to enjoy, and has established The Art Fund’s reputation as a powerful campaigning body fighting to make great art available to everyone,” said Verey, who will launch the search for Barrie’s successor immediately.

“He has been intimately involved in countless vital acquisitions for museums and galleries across the country."