The J. Paul Getty Trust announced today that Thomas W. Gaehtgens, director of the Getty Research Institute, will step down in the spring of 2018. After his retirement, Gaehtgens will return to Germany to conduct independent research. The trust has begun an international search for a new director.
“Thomas Gaehtgens’ international standing as a leading scholar has enabled him to significantly broaden the vision and reputation of the Getty Research Institute,” said James Cuno, president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust. “The GRI has always been known as one of the world’s largest and finest arts and architecture libraries, but under Thomas’s leadership the GRI has become a robust, international center of original scholarship. In addition to groundbreaking exhibitions and publications, Thomas’s commitment to the digitization of the GRI’s collection, and his enthusiasm for open access tools and research databases has put the GRI, and by extension the Getty, at the forefront of the digital humanities.”
Since becoming director of the institute in 2007, Gaehtgens has overseen an expansion in the Institute’s research projects, scholars department, exhibitions program, digital initiatives, and special collections. He also helped the GRI transition from an institution focused primarily on Western art to one with a more global approach and spearheaded collaborations with Chinese, Japanese, Indian, African and Latin American institutions.
“It has been an outstanding privilege to serve for so many years the philanthropic mission of the Getty, as the donor himself expressed it, to extend ‘the advancement of knowledge and appreciation of the fine art’ at this unique ensemble of collaborating institutions,” Gaehtgens said in a statement.