Thomas Gaehtgens is a renowned German art historian and former director of the Getty Research Institute. Born in Leipzig, Germany, Gaehtgens completed his PhD at the University of Bonn in 1966 and published his Habilitation at the University of Göttingen in 1972. Throughout his scholarly career, he specialized in 18th and 19th century French and German art, publishing an impressive number of books and founding the German Center for the History of Art in Paris. Before joining the Getty Research Institute, he was Professor of Art History at the Free University of Berlin. He is the recipient of the Grand Prix de la francophonie by the Académie française, an honorary doctorate from the Paris-Sorbonne University, and is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In this interview, Gaehtgens discusses: his childhood and family background; his early interest in music and art; his university and graduate school experience; his numerous scholarly endeavors from books and exhibitions to the founding of the German Center for the History of Art in Paris; and the many innovations he initiated as director of the Getty Research Institute, such as the creation of the Getty Research Journal, the Getty Research Portal, and the Pacific Standard Time exhibitions.