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 -1990.  In addition, since joining the Gallery in 2005, I have organized several exhibitions: Pop Art Portraits (2007), Gerhard Richter Portraits (2009) and The Queen: Art and Image (2011-12).  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, Tony Bevan and Thomas Struth.  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 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) and Anthony Caro (2005).   Among several external advisory roles, I am a Trustee of the Royal Academy Chantrey Bequest 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. Recent projects and publications include the essay ‘Hans Hofmann’s Late Paintings’ for the Hans Hofmann catalogue raisonné (to be published in 2013); the monograph Cindy Sherman, Phaidon (to be published in 2013); two essays on the Royal Academy and Modernism for the forthcoming 2-volume History of the Royal Academy.  I have recently written the Gallery’s Guide to 20th Century Portraits (to be published in March 2013). I am currently researching The Great War and Portraiture, and also Giacometti’s Portraits, for exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery in 2014 and 2015.  

Recent Publications

Recent publications include: Anthony Caro: Presence, Lund Humphries (2010); Bridget Riley From Life, National Portrait Gallery (2010); Pop Art Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, (2007); A Guide to Twentieth Century Portraits (2013)

Selected Publications