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Getty Villa

17985 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, California

Phone: 310-458 2003 --

Statement of Purpose:

Greek and Roman antiquities, pre-20th-century Western european paintings, drawingss, sculpture, decorative arts; illuminated manuscripts; photographs.

The J. Paul Getty Museum is one of seven programs of the J. Paul Getty Trust, a private operating foundation devoted to the visual arts. The Museum houses permanent collections of Greek and Roman antiquities, pre-twentieth-century European paintings, drawings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, decorative arts, and nineteenth- and twentieth-century European and American photographs. The building itself is a recreation of a first- century-A.D. Roman country villa, with interior and exterior gardens.

About the Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum was created for the benefit of the public through the generosity of its founder, who was born in 1892 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and spent part of his youth in Los Angeles. Mr. Getty lived most of his adult life in Europe, where he began collecting art in the 1930s. His interests centered on Greek and Roman antiquities, Renaissance and Baroque paintings, and European decorative arts. Although much expanded, the Museum's collections still reflect the spirit and enthusiasms of Mr. Getty.

In 1953 the Museum was established in a large house in Malibu that Mr. Getty had acquired for retirement purposes. By the mid- 1960s the house could no longer accommodate the rapidly growing collections, so Mr. Getty decided to commission a new building. Construction began in 1971, and the present Museum was opened to the public in January 1974.

The Building

The Museum is a re-creation of an ancient Roman country house. Its plan is based on that of the Villa dei Papiri, which stood outside the city of Herculaneum overlooking the Bay of Naples. The villa was completely buried, as were Pompeii and Herculaneum, by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. In the eighteenth- century the villa was accidentally rediscovered and was explored by archaeologists and by treasure seekers using a system of underground tunnels. Most of these tunnels were later sealed,

Highlights & Collections:

The Collections

Antiquities (main level). The collection of Greek and Roman antiquities spans the period from 3000 B.C. to A.D. 300 and includes marble and bronze sculptures, wall paintings, mosaics, vases, and objects in precious metals and other media. Among the major works are the Cycladic Harpist, 2600-2500 B.C.; the limestone and marble Aphrodite from the end of the fifth-century-B.C.; and the bronze Victorious Athlete from the late fourth- or early third-century-B.C.

Drawings (upper level). The drawings collection includes more than four hundred drawings ranging in date from the fifteenth- to the nineteenth-century. Among them are works by Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, van Dyck, Durer, Bernini, Rubens, Watteau, Ingres, Goya, Cezanne, and van Gogh.

Paintings (upper level). European paintings from the early fourteenth- to the late nineteenth-century offer strong concentrations in French, Dutch, and Italian schools. Highlights now include important works by Masaccio, Bouts, Mantegna, Pontormo, Rubens, Rembrandt, Terbrugghen, Gainsborough, David, Millet, Renoir, Ensor, van Gogh, and Munch. Please note: Paintings are also exhibited in a number of galleries together with sculpture and decorative arts.

Manuscripts (upper level). These holdings embrace European and Byzantine manuscript illumination, chiefly from the ninth-through the seventeenth-century. In addition to masterpieces of Ottonian, Romanesque, and Gothic illumination, the collection contains manuscripts illuminated by Jean Fouquet, Taddeo Crivelli, Giovanni di Paolo, Simon Bening, the Boucicaut Master, Simon Marmion, and Joris Hoefnagel.

Decorative Arts (upper level). This collection includes furniture, carpets, tapestries, clocks, silver, porcelain, and other small objects made for the French royal household, the nobility, and the wealthy bourgeoisie. The collection dates from the early years of Louis XIV's reign through the end of the Napoleonic era, spanning the years 1660 to 1815. Three paneled rooms displaying objects made in the R‚gence, Rococo, and Neoclassical periods are included. German furniture and ceramics are also on the same floor.


Looking Ahead

A new museum, with over twice the exhibition space as the villa, is now the main public destination at the Getty Center. It opened in 1997. Designed by Richard Meier, the Getty Center houses the programs of the J. Paul Getty Trust, which are devoted to scholarship, education and conservation in the visual arts and humanities.

The new Museum is designed as a series of pavilions around an outdoor courtyard. Galleries will contain the paintings, drawings, sculpture, decorative arts, illuminated manuscripts, and photographs collections, as well as a lively program of loan exhibitions and innovative educational services. From the parking structure off the 405 Freeway, visitors will board a tram that will take them up the hill on a four-and-a-half-minute ride. There they will be able to visit the Museum, attend programs presented by the Museum and other Getty organizations in a variety of spaces including a 450-seat auditorium, eat in the Getty Center's restaurant and cafes, shop in a spacious Museum bookstore, and enjoy the gardens.

After 1997, the Villa in Malibu will be renovated to become a center for antiquity, housing America's only museum devoted entirely to Greek and Roman art. Like the Getty Center, the Getty Villa will be a site for a variety of activities sponsored by the Museum and other Getty organizations.

Schedule of Exhibitions at the J. Paul Getty Museum

Reservations & Information. (310) 458-2003


Call first for parking reservations.
Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., year-round.
Closed Mondays and on New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.




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