National Galleries of Scotland unveils first female leader in its 173-year history
The National Galleries of Scotland has appointed a woman to its job for the first time in its 173-year history.
Anne Lyden, who has spent the last decade with the organisation after working for 18 years at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.She will succeed Sir John Leighton as director-general in January after a 17-year tenure at the helm of the national, modern and portrait galleries in Edinburgh.
Her new role will involve overseeing plans for the creation of a major “world-class” visitor attraction and archive complex on Edinburgh’s waterfront. The Art Works, in Granton, will become home to around 100,000 works of art cared for by the National Galleries, but will be fully accessible by the public.
Ms Lyden’s appointment has been announced 18 months after violinist Nicola Benedetti was appointed the first female and first Scottish director of the Edinburgh International Festival.
Born in West Dunbartonshire and brought up in Clydebank, Ms Lyden studied art history at Glasgow University.
She was an associate curator at the Getty Museum before joining the National Galleries as an international photography curator and then chief photographer curator, before a recent role as interim co-director of collection and research.
Ms Lyden said: “I am looking forward to this incredible opportunity to lead the National Galleries of Scotland in the next chapter of its impressive history.
“It is my great privilege to continue the excellent work led by Sir John and colleagues over the years, most recently the success of the new Scottish galleries at the national gallery.
"I am eager to continue my work with trustees, colleagues, community partners, audiences, artists, and supporters in realising our plans for the future including The Art Works, our new collections facility in north Edinburgh.
‘Having worked with the national collection and a wide range of colleagues over the last ten years, I am delighted to continue this experience of making art accessible to everyone.”
Benny Higgins, chair of the National Galleries board, said: “Over the past few months, we embarked on a rigorous search to find our next Director-General, resulting in us speaking to many people across the UK and internationally. Following a thorough recruitment process, we know we have the right person to lead the National Galleries of Scotland into the future.
"Anne brings a strong understanding of the national collection and our talented people, together with extensive international experience.
“Her strong personal values and leadership style, coupled with her knowledge of art, will see us deliver on our strategic commitments and I am looking forward to working with her.”
Sir John said: “Anne Lyden is a highly talented curator and leader with a strong commitment to inclusion and diversity.
"She has a compelling vision of the benefits that access to great art can achieve in these volatile times and is the right person to drive forward the National Galleries’ commitment to bringing world-class art to the widest possible audience.”
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