Harold M. Williams. Photo: J. Paul Getty Trust.

Harold M. Williams (1928–2017)

Harold M. Williams, the founding president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, one of the world’s largest cultural and philanthropic institutions, died on July 30. Under his leadership, the trust became a multidimensional organization that focused on the study and presentation of visual art through the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. Williams served the foundation from 1981 to 1998. He retired in 1997 but maintained an office at the Getty Center for the remainder of his life, attending meetings and events. In 2013, he and his wife, Nancy—the director of program planning and analysis for the Getty—were the first to receive J. Paul Getty Medals from the organization’s trustees.

“Harold envisioned and then built the Getty Center as a museum, library, laboratories, and public spaces for the greater appreciation, understanding, and conservation of the world’s artistic legacy. We are all deeply in his debt,” said James Cuno, the Getty’s current CEO and president.

A memorial service for Williams is planned for the fall.