The J. Paul Getty Trust : Associate Curator for Modern & Contemporary Collections

Job Summary

Reporting to the Head of Modern and Contemporary Collections in the Curatorial Department, develops special collections and general library collections in late 19th and 20th-century art history. Requires a solid background in the history of modern and contemporary art history; knowledge of recent developments (such as exhibitions, publications and digital productions) in modern and contemporary art is especially valuable. Makes recommendations for single works and collections for acquisition: researching, examining, and drafting proposals; similarly, assesses donations and large collections for research value, authenticity, provenance, and condition; drafts and negotiates contracts and appropriate permissions and licenses; works collegially, and often collaboratively, with curators in the department and with colleagues at the GRI and across the Getty. Utilizes scholarly background and expertise interpreting the collections in the preparation of exhibitions, publications, lectures, and online/digital resources for public programs. Responds to queries concerning the collections, assists with processing decisions, evaluates items requested for loan by other institutions, and recommends conservation treatments.

Major Job Responsibilities

  • Applies advanced knowledge of art history and art education to complex curatorial assignments
  • Performs complex scholarly research to support the institutional mission
  • Organizes significant exhibitions, major publications, or major acquisitions
  • Cultivates connections nationally and internationally with scholars and museum colleagues
  • Actively participates in acquisitions and collection development
  • Publishes and lectures in area of specialization
  • Assesses conservation needs of the collections; participates in digitization; assesses loan requests
  • Collaborates in and may lead research projects; shares collections and/or serves as a resource to scholars, visitors and staff


  • M. A. or Ph. D. in art history or related area in the humanities
  • 5 years related experience in special collections or museums
  • Excellent knowledge of two foreign languages, including European (French, German, Italian, Spanish) or Asian (Chinese, Japanese).
  • Skilled in all curatorial functions

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Demonstrated ability to build long-term relationships, collaborate and direct teams across disciplines
  • Competent with collection management and digital asset management tools
  • Accomplished in art historical research and writing
  • Ability to communicate and distill information for a specialized audience or the general public
  • Ability to adapt written material for a variety of audiences online or in print

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