Art Fund Announcement

  • 3 March 2009

Independent charity The Art Fund announced today that David Barrie is to step down as Director and Trustee this spring after seventeen distinguished years leading the organisation.

Mr Barrie will be in office until the end of May 2009 to see a number of projects through to completion and ensure a smooth succession. The process of recruiting a new Director begins immediately.

David Verey, Chairman of The Board of Trustees of The Art Fund, said: “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.

“He has been intimately involved in countless vital acquisitions for museums and galleries across the country. Among the many successful lobbying campaigns which he has led, the most significant was that to secure free admission to the UK’s major museums and galleries.

“We thank David for his commitment and energy, and the whole Board wishes him the very best for the future.”

Speaking today, Mr Barrie said: “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.

“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.”

Under Mr Barrie’s Directorship, The Art Fund has given almost £55 million to help secure over 400,000 works for 447 public collections all over the UK. Key achievements include: tripling The Art Fund’s membership; the securing of the Becket Casket for the V&A in 1996; the last minute campaign to save Botticelli’s Madonna and Child for the National Gallery of Scotland in 1999; organising and leading the long campaign to secure free admission to all national museums which came to a successful conclusion in 2001; the centenary celebrations of The Art Fund in 2003; the campaign to save the Macclesfield Psalter in 2005; the commissioning of James Turrell’s Deer Shelter for Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2006; the campaign to save Turner’s Blue Rigi in 2007; the campaign to secure Dumfries House and its contents in 2007; the launching of Art Fund International in 2007; the acquisition of Anthony d’Offay’s ARTIST ROOMS collection of post-war and contemporary art for National Galleries of Scotland and Tate in 2008, and the sponsorship by The Art Fund of ARTIST ROOMS On Tour, announced in January 2009.


Media contact: Madeleine Burbidge, Interim Head of Press, The Art Fund

0207 225 4820 / 07912 777761 /

Notes to Editors:

David Barrie was appointed Director of The Art Fund on 1 May 1992.

David Barrie served in the Diplomatic Service and Cabinet Office from 1975 to 1989. From 1989 to 1992 he was Executive Director of The Japan Festival 1991, a nationwide celebration of Japanese culture in all its forms.

The Art Fund is the UK’s leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums and galleries enrich their collections; campaigns on behalf of museums and their visitors; and promotes the enjoyment of art. It is entirely funded from public donations and has 80,000 members. Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure 860,000 works of art for their collections. The Art Fund is a Registered Charity No. 209174