James N. Wood, President and Chief Executive Officer of J. Paul Getty Trust passed away at his Los Angeles residence late on Friday night. He was 69. His demise was announced by Mark S. Siegel, chairman of the board of trustees on Saturday. He was keeping a good health and his death, which is said to be of natural causes, was unexpected and sudden.
Wood, a renowned former museum director, took over Getty Trust as president in 2006 at a time when the trust was facing unprecedented financial upheavals. Siegel, in his statement on Saturday, paid rich tribute to Wood’s contributions during his three year tenure. He emphasized collaboration between the trust’s museum, research and foundation and conservation institutes, he said. “He further enhanced the institution’s already strong worldwide reputation,” Siegel added.
Prior to his tenure at Getty Trust, he was director and president of the Art Institute of Chicago for quarter of a century before retiring to Rhode Island. He is credited with implementing many innovations and developments which are responsible for its glory in the 21st century. Notable among them is its Modern Wing, which he commissioned in 1999.
During his career, he worked in many other reputed institutions including St. Louis Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Buffalo’s Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Institute of Fine Arts at New York University and Manhattan’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Wood, who obtained his masters from the Institute for Fine Arts at New York University, specialized in European paintings, photography and sculpture. He is survived by his wife, Emese, two daughters, three grandchildren and their families.