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The Getty Center
The Getty Center

 

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 and fires.

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 prints.


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 photography galleries







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