Schaefer joined the Museum in February 1999, following a distinguished career at Sotheby’s, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Fogg Museum at Harvard, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others.
Over the course of his career at the Getty, he contributed greatly to the growth of the Paintings collection, adding a total of 70 paintings and pastels, plus five sculptures during his four-year oversight of that department.
“Through his acquisitions, Scott has made an impact on every one of the Museum’s paintings galleries and, in particular, transformed our eighteenth-century French collection,” said Potts in announcing Schaefer’s retirement. “We will miss his discerning eye, keen intelligence and above all his unswerving commitment to the Museum.”
Among his most important recent acquisitions are the Museum’s first paintings by Gauguin (Arii Matamoe, 1892, acquired 2008) and Watteau (The Italian Comedians, about 1720, acquired 2012), as well as Turner’s Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino, 1839 (acquired 2011) and Rembrandt Laughing, around 1628, a rare self-portrait by one of the world’s most beloved artists that entered the collection just a few months ago. Among the sculptures he acquired are works by Riccio, Houdon and Gauguin.
Schaefer approached collecting for the Getty with a keen appreciation of “the greater museum of Los Angeles,” ensuring that Getty acquisitions complement those of other L.A. institutions. He also developed an active program of individual loans that has allowed a number of major works from private and public collections to be seen in the context of the Getty’s collection.
“I am extremely proud to have played a role in the formation of the Getty's collections,” said Schaefer. “For a young museum like the Getty, developing the collection is an important pursuit, and the Trustees have been enormously supportive. My horizons have been immeasurably broadened and my education significantly deepened by my many colleagues at both the museum and the trust as a whole. For this I am enormously grateful.”
Under his leadership, the Paintings department undertook a dynamic exhibition and publications program that included Rembrandt’s Late Religious Portraits (2005), and the two special installations Manet’s Bar at the Folies Bergère (2007) and Vermeer’s Woman in Blue Reading a Letter (2013), which rank among the most visited presentations at the Getty Center. He has also played major roles in planning for the upcoming Ensor exhibition and next year’s late Turner exhibition being developed in conjunction with Tate Britain.
Internationally, Schaefer represented the Getty Museum on the art advisory council of the Internal Revenue Service, as chair of the vetting committee for Frieze Masters in London, and on the vetting committee of TEFAF Maastricht. Locally, he serves on the art council of the Century City Chamber of Commerce.
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The J. Paul Getty Museum collects in seven distinct areas, including Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts, and photographs gathered internationally. The Museum's mission is to make the collection meaningful and attractive to a broad audience by presenting and interpreting the works of art through educational programs, special exhibitions, publications, conservation, and research.
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