About: Anne-Lise Desmas

I'm associate curator in the Department of Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the J. Paul Getty Museum, where I specialize in French and Italian Early Modern Sculpture. As I grew up in a small beach city by the Atlantic Ocean in France, I could have become a windsurfer or an oyster producer—but my love for sculpture prompted me to leave Brittany to study art history at the École du Louvre and the Sorbonne in Paris. Like many sculptors to the French kings I was studying, I then traveled to Italy to complete my training. I fall in love with Rome, where, to complete my PhD, I spent more than a decade reading dusty archival documents, examining huge travertine statues high up on the facades of basilicas, and examining delicate stucco and marble reliefs in cold churches. There I was lucky enough to work at the French Academy, in the Villa Medici, and at the top of the Pincio Hill overlooking the Eternal City. I couldn't imagine for a minute that I would later work at the top of another hill, overlooking the City of the Angels on the Pacific Coast! I am one ocean and one continent away from Europe, but I can practice surfing (or try to), there are archival documents in the GRI (though they are not dusty enough for my taste), and I am surrounded by Tivoli travertine; but above all, I am doing the job I always dreamt of!

Posts by Anne-Lise

Posted in Art, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

No Beauty Contest: 18th-Century English Lord Curates Getty Museum Gallery

Neoclassical and Roman sculptures at the Getty Center, Gallery W101
A new installation in Gallery W101 at the Getty Center presents 18th-century Neoclassical sculptures alongside two Roman pieces with storied pasts

Two pieces brought out from storage complete the story of the Judgment of Paris in a new installation at the Getty Center. More»

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Posted in Art, Behind the Scenes, J. Paul Getty Museum

A New Installation of 18th-Century Terracottas and Marbles

Overview of South Atrium

The sculpture and decorative arts galleries in the West Pavilion, redesigned in August 2010, highlight the objects well—so well, in fact, that I bet no one has noticed that seven sculptures once in the West Pavilion have been off view… More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

The Thrills (and Terrors) of Installing an Exhibition

Installing Leonardo and the Art of Sculpture
Chain in hand, I help out during the heavy lifting.

Wednesday, March 17, 9:50 a.m. That’s it. I’ve just walked the last courier to the South Gate shuttle point and said good-bye, and am going back to the museum. There’s a delicious smell coming from the wisteria, and the sky… More»

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      I do not like crooked, twisted, blasted trees. I admire them much more if they are tall, straight, and flourishing. I do not like ruined, tattered cottages. I am not fond of nettles or thistles, or heath blossoms. I have more pleasure in a snug farm-house than a watch-tower—and a troop of tidy, happy villages please me better than the finest banditti in the world.”

      Marianne looked with amazement at Edward, with compassion at her sister. Elinor only laughed.

      —Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, published on October 30, 1811

      Wooded Landscape by Paulus Lieder and Landscape with a Bare Tree and a Ploughman by Leon Bonvin, The J. Paul Getty Museum; Fantastic Oak Tree in the Woods, Carl Wilhelm Kolbe the Elder, The Getty Research Institute

      10/30/14

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