New Director for Australia’s National Gallery

The National Gallery of Australia.
Photo: Courtesy the National Gallery of Australia, via Facebook.

The rumor mill got it right. Gerard Vaughan has been named the new director of the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, the country’s largest public art museum.

The international search for a replacement for Ron Radford has been running for seven months, but Vaughan was always a frontrunner.

He spent 13 years as director of Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria. When he stepped down in 2012 he was given a specially created professorial fellow role at the University of Melbourne’s Australian Institute of Art History.

While he was responsible for major blockbusters at the NGV, including the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series, it will be his academic skills and reputation that will be most welcomed by the NGA.

Radford’s many achievements included the extension of the gallery and the expansion of its collection, but his tenure was marred by the scandal over the purchase of a looted Indian artifact. After sustained media attention, which centered on the question of whether or not the gallery conducted proper provenance checks, the AUD$5 million bronze Shiva was finally returned to India last month (see “Australian PM Tony Abbott Returns Stolen Statues to India” and “National Gallery of Australia Sues Dealer Over Stolen Antiquities“).

The NGA board will be hoping Vaughan’s appointment restores the public’s faith in the gallery and its capacity to build and manage the collection. He starts in his new role in early November.

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