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Julia Peyton-Jones to join Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

The former head of the Serpentine will take over as senior global director of the commercial gallery in September

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Julia Peyton-Jones, who stepped down as the director of London’s Serpentine Galleries last year after 25 years in the post, is joining Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Mayfair as senior global director, the gallery announced on Friday.

Peyton-Jones studied painting at the Royal College of Art between 1975 and 78 but did not stay long in that field. At the Serpentine, she pioneered the Pavilion program, which invites international architects and artists to build a structure next to the galleries. The first commission in 2000 was Zaha Hadid, and others have included Ai Weiwei, Jean Nouvel, and Oscar Niemeyer. Her efforts at the non-profit gallery won her an OBE in 2003 and a DBE in 2016.

“Julia Peyton-Jones is one of the most respected and admired figures in the art world with an unparalleled level of experience," Thaddaeus Ropac said in a statement. "It will be an honour and a joy to work together and develop exciting new projects.” She starts at the commercial gallery in September.

Ropac has been expanding a great deal lately, and recently announced that Nick Buckley Wood will serve as the gallery’s Asia director. The Paris- and Salzberg-based dealer opened a London branch in April, undaunted by the talks of a hard Brexit.

“Brexit is the main topic of conversation, but the art world left behind its geopolitical borders a long time ago,” Ropac told The Art Newspaper then, reiterating his support for a strong Europe to prevent atrocities like those seen in the Second World War. “We are part of an international movement, and so Brexit will not change anything.”

“Our structure is very much tied to Europe, and I still see London as part of that,” he added. “But the art world is moving East and we are watching.”

In days past, gallery representation used to be a little more competitive and territorial but the modern art world shares artists fairly generously. With Ropac's outposts and some 60-odd artists—among them Anselm Kiefer, Georg Baselitz, Imi Knoebel and the estates of Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Beuys—he's well positioned for international influence.

"For over 30 years, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac has showcased the careers of some of the most brilliant and influential artists," Peyton-Jones said in a statement. "I look forward to building on this impressive exhibition history, with Thaddaeus and his team, as the gallery extends its ambition and international presence. I simply cannot wait to get started!”