Paul Moorhouse

Ruth Brimacombe20th Century Curator

Job description

As 20th Century Curator, I am responsible for acquisitions, displays and research relating to the collection within the period 1914 - 2000. In addition, since joining the Gallery in 2005, I have curated several exhibitions: Pop Art Portraits (2007), Gerhard Richter Portraits (2009), The Queen: Art and Image (2011-12) and The Great War in Portraits (2014). In 2006 I introduced a new series of monographic loan displays, Interventions, which explores innovatory and unconventional approaches to 20th century portraiture through the work of leading international artists. To date, the series has included Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Jim Dine, Bridget Riley, Anthony Caro, Frank Auerbach, John Gibbons, Patrick Heron, Tony Bevan, Thomas Struth, and Jack Smith. I am a member of the Gallery’s Senior Management Team.


My first degree was in English and Philosophy. Subsequently I took a post-graduate teaching certificate (PGCE) in English and Art. I also hold an MA in Art History from London University. My curatorial career in London began as Curator, Government Art Collection. From 1985 to 2005, I was Curator, Modern Collection at the Tate Gallery, latterly Senior Curator and Acting Head of Contemporary Art. In addition to planning the inaugural displays for Tate Britain and Tate Modern, I organized the monographic exhibitions Leon Kossoff (1995), Michael Andrews (1999), Bridget Riley (2002), Anthony Caro (2005) and Anthony Caro: Sculpture Towards Architecture (1991).  Exhibitions I have curated at other institutions include: Andy Warhol (Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre, Moscow (2014), Warhol/Icon: The Creation of Image (Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens (2009), John Hoyland (Royal Academy of Arts, London (1999) and The Transformation of Appearance (Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (1991).  Among several external advisory roles, I am a Trustee of the Royal Academy Chantrey Bequest, a member of the art advisory panel for St Martin in the Fields, and was a member of the AHRC grant awards panel.

Research interests

At Tate, my specialist area was modernist painting and sculpture. Since joining the National Portrait Gallery my research interests also embrace international 20th century portraiture. I curate exhibitions, lecture and publish widely in both these fields.  Since first visiting China in 2012 I have curated a number of exhibitions and published several catalogues on contemporary Chinese art. My current projects and forthcoming publications include an essay on Liu Ye for the catalogue raisonné (to be published by Hatje Cantz in 2015), the book Giacometti: Pure Presence to accompany the National Portrait Gallery exhibition in October 2015, the first monograph on Bridget Riley (to be published by Thames and Hudson in 2016), and two essays on the Royal Academy and Modernism for the 2-volume History of the Royal Academy (to be published by Yale in 2017). I am currently researching Euan Uglow and Cindy Sherman for exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery in 2017 and 2020.

Recent Publications

In addition to numerous exhibition catalogues (see Selected Publications), recent books include: The Great War in Portraits (2014), Cindy Sherman (2014), A Guide to Twentieth Century Portraits (2013), Anthony Caro: Presence (2010); Bridget Riley From Life (2010); Pop Art Portraits (2007).

Selected Publications