Curator and art historian Mark Hallett has been named as the next director of London’s Courtauld of Institute Art. He will succeed Deborah Swallow, who announced in April that she would be departing at the end of the 2022–23 academic year after nearly twenty years in the role. Hallett will assume the position of director designate on April 1, 2023, and will take on full directorial duties August 1. The Courtauld is a self-governing college of the University of London and one of the world’s most prestigious higher learning institutions focused on art history and conservation.
The Welsh-born Hallett arrives to the school from his post as director of London’s Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, part of Yale University and the sister institution of the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven. Before coming to the Mellon Centre, Hallett—who earned both his master’s degree and his PhD from Courtauld after graduating from Cambridge University—headed the history department at the University of York. From 2014 to 2016, he was a visiting professor at the Courtauld; the previous academic year, he was a visiting scholar at Pembroke College, Cambridge. Since last year, he has served as was a member of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, with which the UK government consults regarding the export of cultural property.
Hallett takes over from Swallow as the Courtauld enters the second stage of a massive $67 million renovation project, having completed the first phase earlier this year, with the relocation of its temporarily dislocated conservation department back to its regular home, Somerset House. The second phase of the project, which the school has named “Courtauld Connects,” is to be completed by 2025 and will see the college’s teaching and research departments return to their freshly renovated quarters from the King’s Cross campus, where it is being housed for the duration of construction.
Courtauld board chair Lord Browne of Madingley praised Hallett for his “reputation for scholarly work at the highest level, broad curatorial experience, and excellent management skills,” additionally noting that the art historian is “well-equipped to lead the institution as we implement the next phase of our ambitious development initiative.”