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Karen Quinlan AM

Karen Quinlan AM took up her appointment as Director of the National Portrait Gallery in December 2018.

Karen commenced her curatorial career in 1994 at National Gallery of Victoria before becoming Curator of Bendigo Art Gallery in 1996, and the Director of Bendigo Art Gallery from 2000 until 2018.

Karen was a Professor of Practice and previously Director of the La Trobe Art Institute La Trobe University, a former Trustee of the State Library of Victoria, Board Member and former Chair of the Public Galleries Association of Victoria. Karen was appointed in 2017 as a board member of the Victorian Foundation of Living Australian Artists, for the National Gallery of Victoria.

Karen has been instrumental in working with international cultural institutions, attracting high profile exhibitions to regional Victoria including the highly successful exhibition The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957, The White Wedding Dress: 200 Years of Wedding Fashion and Grace Kelly: Style Icon, achieving unprecedented economic benefits to the region with record attendances of over 150,000. A recent collaborative exhibition with the Royal Academy of Arts, produced Genius and Ambition: The Royal Academy of Arts, London 1768-1918, which was hailed as 'exhibition of the year' by Australian critics. An ongoing relationship with the Victoria and Albert Museum witnessed Undressed: 350 years of fashion in underwear July - October 2014. Collaborating for the first time with the British Museum in 2014 The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece was hosted and the exhibition Bendigo Art Gallery and Twentieth Century Fox presents Marilyn Monroe in 2016 attracted another record attendance of 142,000 visitors to the city of Bendigo.

Karen recently secured a major collection exhibition from the National Portrait Gallery, London for Bendigo Art Gallery that focuses on the British Royal family portraits, titled Tudors to Windsors scheduled for 2019.

Karen has overseen two redevelopments of the Bendigo Art Gallery in 2001 and more recently, an $8.5m redevelopment completed in 2014.

She is the mother of two, loves running and has competed in several half marathons and numerous fun runs.

Updated 2019