Dame Julia is critics’ toast

Dame Julia Peyton Jones, the former director of the Serpentine Gallery, has been awarded the Critics’ Circle Award for Visual Arts.

Dame Julia, pictured here with Critics' Circle visual arts and architecture chair Corinne Julius wearing her prize in the shape of a unique brooch commissioned from and Adrienn Pesti of Glasgow School of Art, left the gallery last year after 25 years in charge.

Julius said that during her time at the Serpentine during which visitor numbers rose from 250,000 to 1.2m a year, Dame Julia had “created a stimulating environment that covered  all the visual arts. She had introduced the public to the likes of Gerhard Richter, Paula Rego, Ai Wei-Wei, Yoko Ono, Man Ray and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Accepting the award at the Thaddeus Ropac Gallery in London’s Mayfair, she said: “I am very proud of the work I have achieved in my career and to be recognised in this manner is hugely important to me as I embark on the next stage of my professional life”. She has joined Thaddeus Ropac as senior global director, based in London.

For the first time the Critics’s Circle visual arts and architecture members presented an award for an unsung hero in the arts, in the name of  the late Denise Silvester Carr, the critic and long-time Circle member. It went to Dr Fred Hohler for his work in establishing the Public Catalogue Foundation, now called Art UK, with its archive of al 212,000 of the nation’s paintings, “an unparalleled survey of the oil paintings in national ownership” Julius said.

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