About: Scott Schaefer

In 1964 I visited my first museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as a high school student; 16 years later I would become its first curator of paintings. I went on to become senior vice-president at Sotheby's New York, working first as Director of Museum Services, then in Old Master Paintings, and finally as Head of Old Master Drawings. In 1999 I was named the fourth curator of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum, where I'm currently senior curator of the department—and proud to have presented 55 paintings and pastels for acquisition.

Posts by Scott

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Center, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

A Curator Undercover at the Museum Info Desk

Hans Hoffmann's A Hare in the Forest is curved because its wooden support has warped with time.

As the Getty Museum’s senior curator of paintings, I feel it is incumbent on me to walk through the galleries almost every day, speaking with the security officers and other staff and watching how the public looks at the collections…. More»

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      What unexpected thing have you learned by working at a museum?

      The more time you take with the art, the better. 

      The first time I saw a work by James Turrell, my eyes totally deceived me. I walked into the room (Acton, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art) and saw a gray rectangle “painting,” but I was baffled and could not figure it out—I got closer and closer until my face was pressed against the wall next to it, trying to figure out what it was. When my friend stuck her arm into the painting and revealed the illusion (a square cut into the wall and lit to look flat), my mind was blown! You got me so good, James.

      Also, always offer to take a family photo for the tourists!

      What do you wish you could tell all people about yourself, museums, or life? 

      Everyone is creative.

      Emily, Education Technologist at the Getty, July 24, 2014

      07/29/14

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