The J. Paul Getty Trust is the world’s richest art institution with an estimated endowment of $5.5 billion. It operates the Getty Conservation Institute, Getty Foundation, J. Paul Getty Museum and Getty Research Institute, all based in Los Angeles. Its properties include the Richard Meier-designed Getty Center, which opened in 1997 and the Getty Villa in Malibu on the renovated site of the original J. Paul Getty Museum. The original museum was founded by the oil baron J. Paul Getty in 1954 and its collection included Greek and Roman antiquities, 18th-century French furniture and European paintings.
Stephen Clark, 53, joined the Getty Trust in 2008 as vice president and general counsel after 14 years in the law department at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City where he became deputy GC in 2002. Clark started working at MoMA in an entry-level position after graduating from Hamilton College with an English degree in 1981. “I worked every kind of low-paid job at the start, including the information desk and the operations department,” he said. He eventually crossed the street to become assistant director of the American Craft Museum from 1986 to 1987 but was already thinking about the next phase of his career. “Law school was always something in the back of my mind even though I really liked working at the museum,” said Clark. “My father was a lawyer and the idea of being a lawyer always appealed to me.” He decided to enroll at Fordham University School of Law in 1987, graduating in 1990. He had a clerkship lined up with New York U.S. District Judge Inzer Wyatt after graduation, but when Wyatt died during Clark’s final year of law school, Clark joined the New York office of the firm then known as Brown & Wood instead. “I worked with a great trial lawyer, Russel H. “Cap” Beatie, who gave me the chance to work on a broad range of issues, including product liability, securities and land use. It was an interesting variety, which continued when I left Brown & Wood to continue working with Cap at a small firm called Beatie, King & Abate.”
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