British painter and printmaker Rebecca Salter has been elected the 27th president of the Royal Academy by her fellow Academicians. Having served as the institution’s keeper since 2017 she makes history by becoming the first woman to take on the presidency in the RA’s 251 year history.

Appointed in the immediate aftermath of the Academy’s 250th anniversary expansion – at what she describes as a “tremendously exciting time to become president” – Salter says she looks forward to helping the RA to “evolve while keeping art, architecture and debate at the heart of what we do.”

Fellow Royal Academician Grayson Perry described the choice as a “lovely and historic moment” and many other of Salter’s peers have shared their excitement at the decision.

“With a long career as a respected artist, and an in-depth knowledge of the Royal Academy through her position as Keeper, Rebecca will bring a wealth of experience to the role. I look forward to working with her,” Axel Rüger, secretary and chief executive of the Royal Academy, noted.

The outgoing president

Christopher Le Brun, a renowned painter, sculptor and printmaker, served as a trustee with Tate and the National Gallery between 1990 and 2003; periods when both institutions underwent overwhelming change.

Art Fund – Going Places – Oct 2023
Royal Academy
Christopher Le Brun © Royal Academy

More recently he has been a trustee of the Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Royal Drawing School, which he helped to establish in 2000. In the same year he was elected Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy.

Le Brun was elected president of the Royal Academy at the end of 2011 and hands over to Salter after almost exactly eight years.

An election to decide who will succeed Salter as Royal Academy’s keeper – who bears the responsibility of guiding the RA Schools – next year.

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