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Getty Museum Director Michael Brand Elects to Step Down
Dr. Michael Brand by Elon Schoenholz. ©2005, J. Paul Getty Trust.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- James N. Wood, president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, announced today that Dr. Michael Brand has elected to step down as director of the J. Paul Getty Museum at the end of January. He will be available to serve as a consultant through the end of the summer. Brand joined the Getty in December 2005 with a five-year contract. Wood said that David Bomford, associate director for collections at the Museum, will serve as interim director of the Museum until Brand’s successor is named.

During Brand’s tenure he led the team that negotiated the resolution of claims by Italy and Greece for certain objects in the Getty Museum’s antiquities collection, one result of which is the mutually beneficial collaborative relationship the Getty now enjoys with Italy. A unique exhibition currently on display at the Getty Villa featuring the Etruscan bronze masterpiece known as The Chimaera of Arezzo launched a long-term partnership with the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Florence that is expected to bring many more exceptional antiquities from Italy to the Getty Villa in the years ahead.

With the reopening of the Getty Villa, Brand was the first Getty Museum Director to oversee two Getty campuses, and he opened the Center for Photographs, one of the largest gallery spaces in the United States dedicated to the display of photographs. Major works of art acquired for the Getty Museum’s collection under Brand’s leadership include The Calydonian Boar Hunt by Peter Paul Rubens, The Abduction of Europa by Claude Lorrain, Arii Matamoe by Paul Gauguin, the twelfth-century illustrated manuscript known as the Northumberland Bestiary, and a sculpture of a Vexed Man by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt. Significant numbers of German drawings were added to the collection, and the photographs collection was expanded to include works from East Asia.

Major exhibitions Brand brought to the Getty include Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai, California Video, Bernini and the Birth of Baroque Portrait Sculpture, and, most recently, he opened Drawings by Rembrandt and his Pupils: Telling the Difference.

“I am very proud of what I have been able to achieve in my four years as director of the Getty Museum, especially the successful conclusion of negotiations with Italy and Greece, the establishment of new relationships with sister institutions in Mexico, and opening up the Museum’s exhibition program to non-Western art and contemporary art, as well as an unprecedented level of collaboration with the Getty’s three other programs. I look forward to further pursuing such interests after a break in Los Angeles,” said Brand.

“I am very pleased at how the Getty Museum has continued to mature into a highly innovative and respected art institution since my appointment in 2005, and I want to pay tribute to the incredible professionals with whom I have been privileged to work at the Getty,” he added.

“Dr. Brand not only led efforts to settle issues impacting the Museum’s antiquities collection, he worked to frame a new acquisitions policy for the Getty that squarely addresses provenance issues, and he has been a leader within the profession in this regard. I have every confidence that he will excel in whatever he chooses to do in the years ahead,” said Jim Wood.

Brand served as director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in Richmond since 2000 before joining the Getty in 2005. During his tenure at the VMFA, Brand led a successful capital campaign to fund the largest expansion in the museum’s history, which includes a new 177,000-square-foot wing designed by Rick Mather and a 3.5-acre sculpture garden.

From 1996 to 2000, Brand was assistant director of the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia. Prior to that, he was the head of Asian art at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. A native of Australia, Brand earned his B.A. from the Australian National University in Canberra and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Wood said that a search committee to identify Brand’s successor will be formed shortly.

J. Paul Getty Museum | James N. Wood | David Bomford |

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