The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles is in final negotiations with Michael Brand, the director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, to become its new director, a senior official involved in the talks for the Getty Museum said yesterday.
The official, who asked that he not be identified because negotiations were not completed, said an announcement could come as soon as this morning.
Mr. Brand could not be reached for comment yesterday.
A native of Canberra, Australia, Mr. Brand is a scholar of Indian art and architecture. He joined the Virginia Museum, in Richmond, in 2000 after serving four years as assistant director at the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane.
Mr. Brand has been widely praised for his stewardship of the Richmond museum and is credited with burnishing its reputation as a regional museum of national stature. Despite a limited budget, he enlarged its collection, most notably with the purchase of "Venus and Cupid," by the 17-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi, for a thrifty $1.68 million.
The Getty has been without a director since last October, when Deborah Gribbon resigned after clashing publicly with the president of the Getty Trust, Barry Munitz, over the museum's artistic vision.
Earlier this month, officials at the trust confirmed that the California attorney general had opened an investigation into its finances, as well as the museum's acquisition of ancient artifacts that Italian authorities say were stolen.