British architect and veteran museum director Stephen Garrett, who became the first to lead the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu after the death of founder J. Paul Getty in 1976, died on December 2, Artnews reports. He was ninety-six years old. He is survived by his longtime partner Phyllis Nugent and his four children, Carey Cowham, and Georgia, Rebecca, and Jason Garrett.
Born in Ashtead, England in 1922 to parents Howard Garrett and Ida King-Harman, Garrett was a student of the Dragon School, Oxford, and Charterhouse School, Surrey, before he attended Cambridge University’s Trinity College. His studies were interrupted when he left school to join the British Royal Navy during World War II. Following his service, he returned to Cambridge, where he earned his degree in architecture in 1950. Not long after, he started a private architecture practice in London and became a professor at the Inchbald School of Design. He also was a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Garrett first joined the Getty’s team as a consultant architect during the construction of the Getty Villa, the home of Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities, in the 1970s, and eventually became the museum’s deputy director. He led the institution until 1984 when he departed to head the Long Beach Museum of Art in California. He would also go on to serve as the first director of the Hammer Museum in LA.
Timothy Potts, the current director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, said, Garrett “will always have an important place in the Getty’s history and will be much missed by all who knew him and remember so well his expansive personality and wonderful sense of humor.”