Royal Academy names new president

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The Independent Culture

The Royal Academy of Arts has selected a painter as its new president for the first time in almost 20 years, yet questions were raised after no woman even made the shortlist to head the 243-year old organisation.

Christopher Le Brun was elected the 26th president of the academy on Thursday, succeeding Sir Nicholas Grimshaw who stepped down after seven years in office. Le Brun said he wanted to be associated "with more intellectual risk" in his leadership and hoped to encourage exhibitions that would "establish new movements" in the art world.

He was voted in at an assembly of Royal Academicians, who are all practising artists or architects. These included Anish Kapoor and Anthony Gormley. He is the first painter to hold the role since Sir Roger de Grey left in 1993. There has never been a female president. But Le Bruyn believes changes are afoot at the organisation that now has 19 female Academicians. "The next president could well be a woman," he said.

Le Brun's role will be to raise money to fund the series of work running until 2018 and promote the educational arm of the organisation.

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