The Getty Center, in Brentwood, Los Angeles,
California, is a campus for cultural institutions founded by oilman J.
Paul Getty. The $1.3 billion center, which opened on December 16, 1997,
is also well known for its architecture, gardens, and views overlooking
Los Angeles. The center sits atop a hill connected to a visitor's
parking garage at the bottom of the hill by a three-car, cable-pulled
tram. The center draws 1.3 million visitors annually.
It is one of two locations of the J. Paul Getty Museum. This branch of
the museum specializes in "pre-20th-century European paintings,
drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts; and
19th- and 20th-century American and European photographs". Among the
works on display is the painting Irises by Vincent van Gogh. Besides the
museum, the center's buildings house the Getty Research Institute (GRI),
the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, and the
administrative offices of the J. Paul Getty Trust, which owns and
operates the center. The center also has outdoor sculptures displayed on
terraces and in gardens. Designed by architect Richard Meier, the campus
includes a central garden designed by artist Robert Irwin. GRI's
separate building contains a research library with over 900,000 volumes
and two million photographs of art and architecture. The center's design
included special provisions to address concerns regarding earthquakes
MuseumMain article: J. Paul Getty Museum
The Getty Center's estimated 1.3 million visitors annually make it one
of the most visited museums in the United States. The collection of the
J. Paul Getty Museum on display at the Getty Center includes
"pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts,
sculpture, and decorative arts; and 19th- and 20th-century American and
European photographs". The paintings include:
Terrace between pavilions looking toward Exhibitions Pavilion and
Rotunda.Arii Matamoe (The Royal End) by Paul Gauguin (1892). The
Museum's director, Michael Brand, stated that the purchase of the
painting was "one of the key moments in the history of our collection."
The literal translation of the Tahitian words of the title are "noble"
and "sleeping eyes", which implies "death".
Irises by Vincent Van Gogh (1889). The museum purchased the painting in
1990; it had sold for $53.9 million in 1987.
Portrait of a Halberdier by Pontormo (1528–1530). When the museum bought
the painting for $35.2 million at an auction in 1989, "the price more
than tripled the previous record at auction for an Old Master painting".
A copy of Portrait of Louis XIV, which measures 114 x 62-5/8 inches, by
the workshop of Hyacinthe Rigaud (after 1701).
Getty's photograph collection is located on the
lower level of the west pavilion. It includes 35,000 individual prints,
1,500 daguerreotypes and other cased objects, 30,000 stereographs and
cartes-de-visite, and 475 albums containing almost 40,000 mounted
The inner courtyard of the museumThe museum building consists of a
three-level base building that is closed to the public and provides
staff workspace and storage areas. Five public, two-story towers on the
base are called the North, East, South, West and the Exhibitions
Pavilions. The Exhibitions Pavilion acts as the temporary residence for
traveling art collections and the Foundation's artwork for which the
permanent pavilions have no room. The permanent collection is displayed
throughout the other four pavilions chronologically: the north houses
the oldest art while the west houses the newest. The first-floor
galleries in each pavilion house light-sensitive art, such as
illuminated manuscripts, furniture, or photography. Computer-controlled
skylights on the second-floor galleries allow paintings to be displayed
in natural light. The second floors are connected by a series of
glass-enclosed bridges and open terraces, both of which offer views of
the surrounding hillsides and central plaza. Sculpture is also on
display at various points outside the buildings, including on various
terraces and balconies. The lower level (the highest of the floors in
the base) includes a public cafeteria, the terrace cafe, and the