The award, given by the Simone et Cino del Duca Foundation, recognizes influential humanist scholarship and is one of the Grands Prix awarded by the foundations of the Institut de France
LOS ANGELES – Thomas W. Gaehtgens, director of the Getty Research Institute, part of the J. Paul Getty Trust, has been awarded the prestigious Prix Mondial Cino Del Duca 2015. The Prix, given by the Simone et Cino del Duca Foundation, is one of the Grands Prix awarded each year by the Foundations of the Institut de France, and will be presented to Gaehtgens at a ceremony under the cupola of the Institut de France in Paris on June 3, 2015.
The international award, created in 1969, recognizes authors whose work, scientific or literary, conveys a message of modern humanism. Past honorees include Jean Anouilh, Andrei Sakharov, Léopold Senghor, Jorge Luis Borges, Mario Vargas Llossa, Václav Havel, Milan Kundera, Patrick Modiano, and Robert Darnton.
“We are very proud of Thomas Gaehtgens’ achievements and his enthusiasm and dedication to furthering the study of art history,” said James Cuno, President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust. “We are delighted to see his him honored with this prestigious and well-deserved award and grateful to the Simone et Cino del Duca Foundation and the Institut de France Foundation for recognizing his distinct contribution to our field.”
Thomas W. Gaehtgens was for many years professor of art history at the Free University in Berlin before founding the Centre Allemand d’Histoire de l’Art in Paris, a research institute dedicated to the study of French art and art history as well as the artistic relations between Germany and France. He was the director of this institution until 2007 when he was appointed to the Getty Research Institute.
Gaehtgens has published extensively on eighteenth- to twentieth-century French and German art history and Franco-German cultural relations. His books and articles include studies of eighteenth century French painting and the installation of a museum of national history at Versailles in the 1830s. He was involved in numerous exhibitions, including one of the first overviews in Europe of American painting of the 18th and 19th centuries. He also published extensively on the history of the museum, especially the museum island in Berlin.
As director of the Getty Research Institute, Gaehtgens shifted the GRI’s focus from a primarily Western-oriented program toward a more global direction. He also supported major acquisitions and digital projects, especially the Getty Research Portal, which provides free access to scholarly publications in the public domain.
“I was surprised and somewhat intimidated when I learned about this enormous honor, given the prestigious names who have received this important prize before me,” said Gaehtgens. “I don’t know how to thank the jury of the Simone et Cino del Duca Foundation and the Institut de France but above all how to show my gratitude to all those personalities, who have supported my passion for art, art history, and its substantial role in our global civil societies.”
Gaehtgens has received many honors during his academic career. He was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton from 1979 to 1980 and at the Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities from 1985 to 1986. In 1998/99 he held the European Chair at the Collège de France. From 1992-96 he was president of the International Committee of the History of Art.
He is a member of the Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London in 2004 and from the Sorbonne in Paris in 2011. In 2009 he received the Grand Prix de l'Académie française pour la Francophonie and in 2011 was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The Institut de France
Created in 1795 as a not-for-profit body for the promotion of art, science and literature, the Institut de France is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions to practice patronage and manage gifts and bequeaths. For over two centuries it has hosted foundations and awarded prizes that have played an incomparable role in modern patronage. Created by private individuals or companies, the Institute's foundations and awards benefit from the experience of the centuries-old institution in the field of philanthropy, as well as of the expertise of the members of the academies in all their fields of skill.
The Institute is also the owner of considerable artistic heritage composed of exceptional houses and collections bequeathed to it since the end of the 19th century, amongst the notable items are the château de Chantilly, the Jacquemart-André museum, Chaalis abbey, the château de Langeais, Kerazan manor or the Villa Kérylos.
The Simone et Cino del Duca Foundation
The Simone and Cino del Duca Foundation, housed at the Institut de France since 2005, aims to promote scientific research and to conserve, enhance and draw attention to scientific and cultural heritage. It offers bursaries and prizes in France and overseas. Each year, it also awards the Grand Prix scientifique, the Grand Prix mondial and the Grand Prix d’archéologie.
The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.
The Getty Research Institute is an operating program of the J. Paul Getty Trust. It serves education in the broadest sense by increasing knowledge and understanding about art and its history through advanced research. The Research Institute provides intellectual leadership through its research, exhibition, and publication programs and provides service to a wide range of scholars worldwide through residencies, fellowships, online resources, and a Research Library. The Research Library— housed in the 201,000-square-foot Research Institute building designed by Richard Meier—is one of the largest art and architecture libraries in the world. The general library collections (secondary sources) include almost 900,000 volumes of books, periodicals, and auction catalogues encompassing the history of Western art and related fields in the humanities. The Research Library's special collections include rare books, artists' journals, sketchbooks, architectural drawings and models, photographs, and archival materials.