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Mr. Scott Schaefer, Senior Curator of Paintings - J. Paul Getty Museum (USA)

Scott Schaefer

Scott Schaefer was born in Chicago but raised in Tucson, Arizona. In 1964, while in high school, he visited his first museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; sixteen years later he would become its first curator of paintings.

Scott graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in history and received his PhD from Bryn Mawr College in 1976 after spending two years at the Warburg Institute in London.

While attending graduate school he became the Curator of the College's art collections, Curator-in-residence of the Hobson Pittman Collection and worked at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in both the print department and later the department of paintings.

In 1976, Scott was appointed assistant curator of prints at the Fogg Art Museum and taught at Harvard University. He continued teaching but moved to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston as assistant curator of paintings under John Walsh. In 1980 Schaefer moved to Los Angeles to inaugurate a department of paintings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

Eight years later he left the museum world and was named Senior Vice-President at Sotheby's New York working first as Director of Museum Services and later Old Master Paintings, and finally as Head of Old Master Drawings (his bibliography at this time was confined to hundreds of catalogue entries and other articles for Sotheby’s publications as well as sales proposals).

In 1999 Schaefer was named the fourth Curator of Paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum. A year later he was additionally made Acting Curator of Sculpture and Works of Art; the second position ended 4½ years later with the appointment of a curator of the newly formed Department of Sculpture and Decorative Arts.

While at the Getty Museum Scott has presented 55 paintings and pastels for acquisition and has overseen the deaccession of 42 paintings. In addition, he has supervised or initiated and installed the following exhibitions:

  • Dosso Dossi, Court Painter in Renaissance Ferrara
  • Ercole de’Roberti: The Renaissance in Ferrara
  • Rome on the Grand Tour
  • The Sacred Spaces of Pieter Saenredam
  • Greuze the Painter: Los Angeles Works in Context (as an addendum to Greuze the Draughtsman)
  • Orazio Gentileschi in Genoa: Paintings for the Palazzo Sauli
  • Jean-Antoine Houdon: Sculptor of the Enlightenment
  • Imagining the Orient
  • Jacques-Louis David: From Empire to Exile
  • For Your Approval: Oil Sketches by Giambattista Tiepolo
  • Rembrandt’s Late Religious Portraits
  • Interjections (an occasional and ongoing series of exchanges with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles)
  • Titian and the Commander: A Renaissance Artist and His Patron
  • Courbet and the Modern Landscape
  • Adolphe-William Bouguereau; an Introduction
  • Ensor’s Graphic Modernism
  • Rubens and Breughel: a Working Friendship
  • From Friedrich to Richter: German Paintings from Dresden
  • Oudry’s Painted Menagerie
  • Manet’s ‘Bar at the Folies-Bergeres’
  • Consuming Passion; Fragonard’s Allegories of Love
  • Captured Emotions; Baroque Painting in Bologna 1575-1725
  • Sur le Motif; Painting in Nature around 1800



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