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Deborah Gribbon appointed interim director of Cleveland Museum of Art

August 13, 2009 |  5:18 pm

Deborah gribbon

 In the latest episode of museum directors musical chairs, Deborah Gribbon has been appointed interim director of the Cleveland Museum of Art. 

Gribbon headed the J. Paul Getty Museum from 2000 to 2004 and resigned over differences with Getty Trust President Barry Munitz, who was forced out two years later. Gribbon has agreed to lead the Cleveland institution for about a year while it searches for a successor to director Timothy Rub, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Rub is ending his three-year tenure to take charge of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, succeeding its longtime director, Anne d’Harnoncourt, who died last year.

Gribbon is a Harvard educated art historian who joined the Getty’s staff in 1984, after working as a curator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. She arrived in Los Angeles at the invitation of the Getty Museum’s then director John Walsh and stepped into his position upon his retirement.

The art world greeted her departure as a brave challenge to Munitz, who had come under fire for flashy, high-handed management and was eventually forced to resign amid charges of improper financial dealings. Gribbon negotiated a $3-million severance package. Munitz had to pay fines to the trust and received no severance pay. The Plain Dealer reports that Gribbon will get an annual salary of about $340,000 in Cleveland.

-- Suzanne Muchnic

Photo: Deborah Gribbon at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Credit: Lawrence Ho / Los Angeles Times