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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Angus Trumble

12 October 2022

Members of the Board, Foundation and staff of the National Portrait Gallery are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Angus Trumble.

Director of the National Portrait Gallery from February 2014 to December 2018, Angus was unfailing in his commitment to the institution, at the same time infusing all areas of the Gallery’s work with his distinctive wit, charm, erudition and scholarship. During his tenure the Gallery reached many significant milestones including becoming a statutory authority, the establishment of the Foundation and the 20th anniversary celebrations culminating in the ambitious 20/20 exhibition. A dynamic and highly regarded leader, he oversaw the growth of the collection, ensuring the Gallery’s acquisition of major works including Graham Sutherland’s Helena Rubinstein in a red brocade Balenciaga gown (1957) and the painting of legendary navigator William Bligh (c. 1776), attributed to John Webber. Under his direction, the Gallery presented exhibitions such as In the Flesh, So Fine: Contemporary women artists make Australian history, The Popular Pet Show, Dempsey’s People: A folio of British street portraits 1824–1844 and Starstruck: Australian movie portraits. Visitors and staff alike were drawn to his intellect and creativity.

1 Helena Rubinstein in a red brocade Balenciaga gown, 1957 Graham Sutherland. © Estate of Graham Sutherland. 2 William Bligh, c. 1776 John Webber.

Born and raised in Melbourne, Angus gained his undergraduate degree in Fine Arts and History at the University of Melbourne, and returned there to study for his Master of Arts, conferred in 1994. That year, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship which funded further study at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. While Curator of European Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia, he curated and wrote the catalogue for a number of exhibitions, including Bohemian London: Camden Town and Bloomsbury Paintings in Adelaide and Love & Death: Art in the Age of Queen Victoria. Angus spent over a decade as Senior Curator of Paintings and Sculpture at the Yale Center for British Art before becoming Director of the National Portrait Gallery.

An eloquent writer, Angus’ books include A Brief History of the Smile (2003), The Finger: A Handbook (2010) and Edwardian Opulence: British Art at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century (2013), co-edited with Professor Andrea Wolk Rager and shortlisted for the Spears Book Awards in London. He also contributed to The Times Literary Supplement, The Burlington Magazine, the Paris Review, Esopus Magazine and the Australian Book Review.

A friend and mentor to many of us lucky enough to have worked with him, Angus will be sorely missed by his National Portrait Gallery colleagues. We extend our condolences to his family.

 

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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