Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Exhibition photographs
Date (inclusive): 1980-2004 (bulk 1990-2004)
J. Paul Getty Museum
14.6 linear feet
The Getty Research Institute
Institutional Records and Archives
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
The records comprise written documentation and photographs documenting the exhibitions of the J. Paul Getty Museum from the
early 1980s to 2004. Materials include black-and-white and color photographic prints, slides, negatives, transparencies, and
digital images (TIFFs).
To access physical materials at the Getty, go to the
library catalog record
for this collection and click "Request an Item." Click here for
general library access policy
. See the Administrative Information section of this finding aid for access restrictions specific to the records described
below. Please note, some of the records may be stored off site; advanced notice is required for access to these materials.
Language: Collection material is in
The J. Paul Getty Museum was established as a charitable trust in 1953 by oil tycoon J. Paul Getty in order to house his growing
art collections. Getty had been collecting art since the 1930s. The J. Paul Getty Museum originally opened in 1954, with relatively
little publicity, in two rooms of Mr. Getty's Ranch House in the Pacific Palisades near Malibu, California. By August 1955
the museum in the Ranch House had six gallery areas. In 1956 Mr. Getty began planning a new antiquities gallery, which was
completed and opened to the public in mid-December 1957. Each year the number of museum visitors increased, and though Mr.
Getty curtailed his art acquisitions activities beginning in 1958, the museum continued to grow.
In the fall of 1968, after considering various options for expanding the Ranch House, Getty decided to build a separate museum
facility on the same property. This new museum was designed in the form of a first-century Roman country house, based primarily
on the plans of the ancient Villa dei Papiri just outside of Herculaneum, Italy. The new museum facility opened to the public
on January 16, 1974. Although Getty retained the title of Museum Director over the years, he never left his home in England
to visit the new museum building, effectively making the Museum Curator or Deputy Director the on-site director. Getty monitored
every expense and purchase made by the museum, and staff regularly traveled to Sutton Place, his home outside London, to consult
with him on museum matters.
J. Paul Getty died in 1976 without ever seeing his new museum. Much to everyone's surprise Getty bequeathed almost his entire
estate to the museum with a mission to promote “the diffusion of artistic and general knowledge." In 1981, when it became
clear that the estate funds would soon be available, Harold M. Williams was hired as the first President of the museum trust.
The trust then began a year of exploration to determine where it would focus its resources and energies in order to make the
greatest possible contribution to the field of art and art history as a whole. The expansion of the Museum’s collections combined
with the new programs proposed by the trust would require a facility beyond what the Villa site could accommodate. In 1983
the estate funds became available, the trust's name was officially changed from the J. Paul Getty Museum Trust to the J. Paul
Getty Trust, and the museum retained the name the J. Paul Getty Museum. The following year Richard Meier & Partners was chosen
to design the Getty Center to house the trust, its newly created programs, and a second site for the Museum.
Today the J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic organization serving both general audiences and
specialized professionals. The Trust is a not-for-profit institution, educational in purpose and character, that focuses on
the visual arts in all of their dimensions. As of 2009 the Trust supports and oversees four programs: the Getty Foundation;
the Getty Conservation Institute; and the Getty Research Institute; and J. Paul Getty Museum. The Museum serves a wide variety
of audiences through its expanded range of exhibitions and programming in the visual arts from two locations in the Los Angeles
area: the Getty Villa near Malibu and the Getty Center in Brentwood.
The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Center, which opened to the public in 1997, houses European paintings, drawings, sculpture,
illuminated manuscripts, decorative arts, and European and American photographs. The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa
underwent extensive renovation and expansion from 1997-2006 and reopened to the public on January 28, 2006. The Villa houses
works of art from the Museum's collection of Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities. The J. Paul Getty Museum seeks to further
knowledge of the visual arts by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting works of art of the highest quality. The
Center and the Villa serve diverse audiences through the Museum's permanent collection, changing exhibitions, conservation,
scholarship, research, and public programs.
Restrictions on Access
The records described in accession 2007.IA.36 and 2011.IA.43 are available for use by qualified researchers. Use copies do
not exist for all digital images in this collection. The production of use copies is required before access can be granted
and may add a delay to research requests. Advanced notice is required for the production of use copies.
The following types of records are permanently closed: records containing personal information, records that compromise security
or operations, legal communications, legal work product, and records related to donors. The J. Paul Getty Trust reserves the
right to restrict access to any records held by the Institutional Archives.
[Cite the item and series (as appropriate)], J. Paul Getty Museum Exhibition Photographs, 1980-2004, undated, J. Paul Getty
Museum. The Getty Research Institute (IA20032).
Accession 2007.IA.36 was transferred by the J. Paul Getty Museum Imaging department in August 2007. Accession 2011.IA.43 was
transferred by the J. Paul Getty Museum Department of Education.
Records processed and finding aid created by Rebecca Fenning, February 2008. Accession 2011.IA.43 added by Cyndi Shein in
Scope and Content of Collection
The records document some of the exhibitions hosted by the J. Paul Getty Museum, both at the Getty Villa and Getty Center,
from 1980 to 2004. The bulk of material issues from approximately 1990 to 2004 and is an incomplete record of Getty exhibitions,
especially for those years prior to 1999. The records consist of photographs, slides, and other visual media. Nearly all of
the represented exhibitions from 1980 to 2004 are documented by black-and-white 8 x 10 inch photographs and their associated
negatives. Most exhibitions from the late 1990s through 2004 are also documented by color slides. Though the majority of files
document temporary, special exhibitions of varying scope and significance, the installations of some permanent collection
galleries are also included. The photographs were taken by Getty photographers working for the Museum Imageing Services department
and its departmental predecessors. The photographs were taken at the request of various curatorial and conservation departments
in order to document the exhibition installation process rather than the individual art objects.
These records are arranged in chronological order.
Subjects - Corporate Bodies
Getty Center (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Getty Villa (Malibu, Calif.)
Subjects - Topics
Genres and Forms of Material