August 21, 2014

J. Paul Getty Museum Fills Two Key Curatorial Positions

Dr. Davide Gasparotto appointed Senior Curator of Paintings; 
Dr. Jeffrey B. Spier appointed Senior Curator of Antiquities

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Desiree Zenowich
Getty Communications
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Amy Hood
Getty Communications
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LOS ANGELES – Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, announced today the appointment of two new senior curators at the Getty Museum.

Dr. Davide Gasparotto, director of the Galleria Estense in Modena, Italy, will become Senior Curator of Paintings, and Dr. Jeffrey B. Spier, an independent scholar and member of the Department of Classics at the University of Arizona, has been appointed to the position of Senior Curator of Antiquities.

Davide Gasparotto, Senior Curator of Paintings

“I am thrilled to announce Dr. Gasparotto’s appointment as the Museum’s Senior Curator of Paintings,” says Potts. “He is a leading figure in the field of Renaissance through eighteenth-century Italian painting and sculpture, while also having an exceptionally broad knowledge of European art in other periods and media. He will bring a fresh perspective and vitality to the department that is certain to enrich the Getty’s already distinguished history of acquisitions, exhibitions, scholarly research, and publications in this field. Having had a successful career within the Italian museum world, Dr. Gasparotto has all of the scholarly, curatorial, and organizational skills that this position requires, together with a vision and enthusiasm for new projects and collaborations. He will be an enormous asset to the Museum and the wider Getty.”

Davide Gasparotto is a native of Bassano del Grappa, Italy, who studied the History of Art and Classical Archaeology at the University of Pisa. He then went on to study the History of Art Criticism at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa. Gasparotto spent 12 years as a curator and art historian at the National Gallery of Parma. He was a Paul Mellon Visiting Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. (2007), and an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2011-2012) researching sixteenth-century Italian decorative arts before being appointed director of the Galleria Estense in Modena in September 2012.

Gasparotto’s research interests include painting, sculpture and the decorative arts of the Renaissance, the rediscovery of classical antiquity between the Middle Ages and the eighteenth century, and the history of collecting, particularly in the Italian Renaissance. He has curated several major exhibitions including Bonacolsi l’Antico. Uno scultore nella Mantova de Andrea Mantegna e di Isabella d’Este (with Filippo Trevisani) at the Palazzo Ducale in Mantova (2008-2009), and Pietro Bembo e l’invenzione del Rinascimento (with Guido Beltramini and Adolfo Tura) at the Palazzo del Monte di Pietà in Padua (2013). He also collaborated on the exhibitions Giovanni Lanfranco, un pittore barocco tra Parma, Roma e Napoli at the Palazzo Ducale in Colorno (2001), and Parmigianino e il manierismo europeo at the Galleria Nazionale in Parma (2003).

He has published extensively on Tuscan, Venetian, Emilian and Lombard art from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Among his publications are: Valerio Belli Vicentino (circa 1468-1546). Scultore della luce, Vicenza 2000 (edited with Howard Burns and Marco Collareta), Principi in posa. Ritratti del Settecento alla Galleria Nazionale di Parma. Nuove acquisizioni e restauri, Milan 2006 (edited with Mariangela Giusto), and Il tondo di Botticelli a Piacenza. Indagini storiche e tecniche, Milan 2006 (edited with Antonella Gigli).

“I am thrilled to become part of the staff of the Getty Museum,” says Gasparotto. “A major international arts institution, the Getty has a unique collection of outstanding masterpieces, and its holdings in the fields of painting, sculpture, decorative arts, and drawings are of the highest rank.”

He adds: “It will be a pleasure and privilege to work with the staff of such leading curators, conservators, and educators, all of whom are authorities in their areas of expertise. Over the years and under the guidance of my predecessors, the Getty has led the way with major acquisitions of paintings, successful exhibitions, and inspirational programming. I look forward to working with my new colleagues in the Department of Paintings on the Museum’s upcoming projects, sharing, as I do, the Getty’s belief in the fundamental role of museum research in presenting engaging offerings to the broad public and scholarly community alike.”

Asked about the appointment, Keith Christiansen, the John Pope-Hennessy Chairman of the Department of European Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, said, “A well-known and highly respected scholar in Italy, where he has served on the Superintendencies at Parma and Modena and organized important exhibitions, Davide Gasparotto is well known to his museum colleagues in the United States, where he spent a year as a fellow at The Metropolitan Museum in New York. His many contributions on Italian Renaissance artists—both painters and sculptors—no less than his close relations with scholars and curators throughout Europe and the United States, make him an ideal appointment for the Getty and its global presence.”

Jeffrey Spier, Senior Curator of Antiquities

“It is an equal pleasure to welcome Jeffrey Spier to the Getty Villa, where he will play a critical role in our ambitious plans for its future,” says Potts. “As the Museum’s new Senior Curator of Antiquities, Dr. Spier brings a wealth of experience as a scholar, curator and connoisseur of classical art that positions him ideally to oversee both the planned expansion of the Villa scholars program to incorporate the classical world’s interaction with other ancient cultures and the reinstallation of the collection of Greek and Roman art along historical lines.”

Spier earned his B.A. degree in Classical Archaeology at Harvard University and his D.Phil in classical Archaeology at Merton College, Oxford. He has held research and teaching positions at University College London, Oxford University, and most recently at the University of Arizona.

For the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, Spier curated the exhibition San Marco and Venice (1997). He was guest curator at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas in 2007 for the exhibition Picturing the Bible: the Earliest Christian Art (catalog published by Yale University Press, 2007).

Spier has twice been a visiting scholar at the Getty Museum, most recently in 2013 when he studied at the Getty Villa. He has lectured and written extensively on Greek and Roman sculpture, painting, luxury arts, numismatics and archaeological method, covering eras from Archaic Greece to Byzantium. In his research, he has pursued a broad understanding of ancient art, primarily Greek, Roman and Byzantine, but also of the borders of the classical world, including Egypt and the Near East, Thrace, Scythia, Persia, Bactria and beyond. He is regarded as a leading expert in the study of Greek, Roman and Byzantine gems.

In addition to exhibition catalogues, his publications have included monographs on the Getty Museum’s Ancient Gems and Finger Rings, a catalogue of the collection (Malibu, 1992); A Catalogue of the Calouste Gulbenkian Collection of Gems (Lisbon, 2001); Late Antique and Early Christian Gems (Wiesbaden, 2007); and Treasures of the Ferrell Collection (Wiesbaden, 2010).

From 1976-1977, Spier was a research assistant at the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis (Turkey) with Harvard University.

Professor Sir John Boardman, emeritus Lincoln Professor of Classical Archaeology and Art at the Classical Art Research Centre and the Beazley Archive at the University of Oxford, commented on the appointment: “Jeffery Spier will be a most valuable asset to the Getty’s already strong academic staff. He is a notable scholar with expertise ranging over all antiquity, and especially in the more abstruse but important area of the study of ancient engraved gems.”

"I am delighted and very excited to be able to lead the antiquities department at the Getty Villa in its ambitious plans for new displays, special exhibitions, public lectures, and an expanded program for visiting scholars,” says Spier. “A visit to the Villa, home to an exquisite collection of the finest Greek and Roman antiquities in America, is already a wonderful experience, but we plan to make it even better. We want visitors to be amazed and inspired.”

Spier joins the Getty in September and will have his office at the Getty Villa in Malibu; Gasparotto will join the Getty in late 2014 and will have his office at the Getty Center.
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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 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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