Job Posting: Senior Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture – The J. Paul Getty Trust (Los Angeles, CA)

JOB TITLE: Senior Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture
EMPLOYER: The J. Paul Getty Trust
The J. Paul Getty Museum is seeking a Senior Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture to oversee the conservation department, which is responsible for the long-term preservation of one of the finest collections of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts in the United States. The Senior Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture oversees the safekeeping, proper installation, and conservation of all works in the Getty’s permanent collection. It conducts an active and influential program of treatments and research, including technical and materials analyses, and as a result is invited to participate in many influential international research projects. The department supports a program of ambitious loan exhibitions through its conservation work and state-of-the-art installation and mount-making procedures. The Senior Conservator represents the institution in the negotiation of joint projects with other institutions while advancing its reputation as a leader on conservation matters internationally. He/she also oversees department staffing, hiring, performance reviews, staff development, and the budget.
The successful candidate will have a Master’s Degree and/or Ph.D. degree, ten years’ experience as an objects conservator, a record of successful treatments and professional publications, and proven ability as a manager. Frequently working in tandem with the curatorial department, he/she will have the reputation and skills to initiate collaborations and build partnerships internationally. The individual will be equipped to consult with other institutions as appropriate on their conservation needs and to conduct negotiations regarding loans, treatments and collaborative projects where required. He/she will contribute to researching, developing, and overseeing innovative methodologies for long-term preservation of works of art in support of the Getty’s leadership role among museums and cultural institutions. The Senior Conservator will report to the Associate Director for Collections and work closely and collaboratively with the Senior Curator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts and with colleagues across the Getty campus.
The Senior Conservator supervises a conservation department of six, including three conservators, two mountmakers, one Senior Staff Assistant and one Graduate Intern. She/he will nurture staff development and review staff performance as well as setting broad departmental and individual goals. The Senior Conservator is responsible for managing the department’s budget and for insuring that all safety procedures are followed. She/he will provide expert opinions about proposed acquisitions and oversee the conservation treatment of all works in the Getty’s Sculpture and Decorative Arts collection. The successful candidate will supports a program of international loans of works of art through his/her expertise, reputation, and diplomacy. She/he also advises on the presentation of works of art in the Museum’s galleries and for special exhibitions while overseeing and facilitating their safe installation. The Senior Conservator develops best practices for conservation treatment and the installation of works of art. She/he works collaboratively with Museum curators, scientists and staff of the Getty Conservation Institute, colleagues across the two Getty campuses, and internationally to further the programs and mission of the J. Paul Getty Museum under the auspices of the Getty Trust.

  • Applies extensive knowledge of art history and art education to advanced curatorial assignments
  • Performs advanced scholarly research to support the institutional mission
  • Makes decisions that impact objectives, objectives, priorities and work activities for the department and related areas of the institution
  • Organizes major exhibitions, publications, or acquisitions
  • Cultivates broad and extensive connections nationally and internationally with scholars and museum colleagues
  • Researches and recommends acquisitions and donations for collection development
  • Publishes and lectures extensively in area of specialization
  • Leads assessment of conservation needs of the collections; recommends, prioritizes and reviews digitization projects; assesses loan requests
  • Collaborates and leads in research projects; promotes collections and/or serves as a resource to scholars, visitors and staff
  • May plan and oversee activities of a curatorial department including budgets, staffing, performance planning and review, and staff development
  • May cultivate donors and co-ordinate council activities


  • Master’s degree in art history, art or art education OR 10+ yrs of curatorial experience OR Ph.D.
  • Fluency in at least one foreign language (modern or ancient) required
  • Highest level technical contributor in specialized curatorial functions


  • Recognized 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
  • Proven 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