November 22, 2011

Art-Inspired Gifts for the Holidays


Desiree Zenowich
Getty Communications
(310) 440-7304

LOS ANGELES—This holiday season give the gift of art to someone special on your list. Unique and charming items inspired by the J. Paul Getty Museum’s permanent collection and special exhibitions on view at the Getty Center and Getty Villa include exquisite time pieces, children’s art kits and toys, beautiful silk scarves and ties, and delicate eco-friendly jewelry.  Available in the Museum Stores at both Getty sites, or online at

Explore the Colorful World of Vincent van Gogh’s Irises 

These expressive gift ideas feature one of the museum’s most iconic paintings. Painted in the last year of his life in the garden of the asylum at Saint-Rémy, Irises captures the delicate flowers’ movements and shapes, creating a variety of curved silhouettes bounded by wavy, twisting, and curling lines. The painting’s first owner, French art critic Octave Mirbeau, one of Van Gogh’s earliest supporters, wrote: "How well he has understood the exquisite nature of flowers!"

Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture 1950–1970 (on view at the Getty Center through February 5, 2012) charts the abundant artistic innovation in post-World War II Los Angeles. During this period, Los Angeles artists looked for new approaches, subjects, and techniques for art making, including experimenting with the materials and processes of the pioneering industries in the region and the local surf and car cultures. The exhibition leads viewers on a dynamic tour from the emergence of an indigenous strain of modernism evident in the hard-edge paintings, assemblage sculpture, and large-scale ceramics of the 1950s, to the subsequent development of iconic Pop images of the city in the 1960s, and the conceptual and material contributions of Light and Space art and process painting that fostered the advanced art of the 1970s.

Innovative techniques and materials—evocative of works in the exhibition—make this selection of gift ideas perfect for anyone who appreciates fine design and beautiful craftsmanship.

Cast Acrylic Sculptures by Vasa
In the 1960s, Vasa developed techniques for working with cast laminated acrylic forms based on simple Euclidean shapes. These prisms of luminous construction are created by composing colored planes within these geometric forms. To fully appreciate these works of art, it is essential to observe them from different angles—the sculptures’ dimensionality contributes to an ever-changing appearance.

With an advanced understanding of optical complexities, Vasa has become, in the words of Henry Seldis, former art critic of the Los Angeles Times, "the most sensuous and sensational colorist of the southern California artists working in plastic." His work was included in the seminal exhibition American Sculpture of the Sixties at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1967 and in other museum and university exhibits.

In his comprehensive studio, located in the heart of Los Angeles and designed and built to accommodate the machinery, staff and advanced technology required for his work, Vasa creates and makes all of his art. Vasa is currently a senior Professor of Design at the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Each piece is signed and dated by the artist. Due to the nature of this process, colors are unique to each piece. $90–$395

Color Your Life
Incorporating Dense Matrix LED technology, user-friendly controls and a sleek body, this lamp brings vibrant colors to every occasion. Featuring a modern ring silhouette with a rotatable arm for uplighting, it is sure to become a conversation piece in your home or office. With just one tap of the intuitive touch pad, launch yourself into a world of color with seven preset colors, two smooth continuous color fading modes, and adjustable color intensity. It is the perfect accent to any room, so go ahead—color your world. $150

Contemporary ClocksFor a different look at time and a different way of telling it. Each clock face and set of hands is individually reproduced from original art using light safe pure pigment inks. The clock cases are made of plastic, metal and wood. Comes boxed; includes instruction booklet and 5 year warranty. $55–$110 (Handcrafted in California


Stainless Steel Wallets
Designed with a refined architectural character, these wallets are composed of material used in various applications in the aerospace and automotive industries. The woven stainless steel fabric is three times thinner than paper and blocks non-deliberate communication by RFID enabled credit cards. Although durable and resistant to corrosive materials such as salts, acids and seawater, these elegant wallets feel like silk to the touch. Available in two styles, the Driving Wallet and the Bill Fold, and in a variety of patterns and textures. $58–$70

Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles Art, 1945–1980
This comprehensive, richly illustrated book explores postwar American art from a new perspective: Southern California. The analysis of the L.A. art scene from the end of World War II until the beginning of the 1980s—the first in-depth scholarly survey of the region’s art—demonstrates the major role Southern California artists played in the twentieth century’s most influential art movements.

Grounded in more than a decade of research, the five chapters augmented by lively sidebars take readers on a tour of an art world in constant formation. The story unfolds through the people, relationships, and ideas that defined the region’s artistic production. Photographs and rare materials from the Getty Research Institute and other archives bring the era to life, opening a window onto the emergence of hardedge abstraction, ceramic sculpture, assemblage, pop art, conceptualism, performance art, and avant-garde practices that blurred boundaries and defied labels. The result is an indispensable resource that will fundamentally change the view of modern art in America.  $59.95 

Parisian Luxuries
Capture the spirit of one of the museum’s most popular recent exhibitions, Paris: Life and Luxury in the Eighteenth Century. These beautiful items, inspired by the Summer 2011 exhibition, evoke the rich material ambiance of Paris during the mid-18th century—the fashion and cultural epicenter of Europe at the time. The silk tie and scarf feature designs adapted from a French Rococo bed hanging, while the watch’s face and band ornamentation are taken directly from unique clocks in the Museum’s collection. Beautiful banners, which graced the streets of Los Angeles to promote the exhibition, are a unique gift for anyone looking to lend a little luxury to their home, office, or garden décor. 


Creative Gifts for Kids
Foster the imagination of a child in your life with these colorful toys and games that inspire creative play. 

The Constructibles Building Set allows you to create your own art display or conceptual sculpture with colorful, creatively patterned pieces. Great for kids and adults alike, there are endless ways to build structures of varying complexity. 25 interlocking pieces in five basic shapes measure from 3-7" each. In addition to being fun and a creative outlet, Constructibles Building Sets improve hand-eye coordination, develop fine motor skills, and reinforce principles of balance and spatial relationships. $14 (Winner of iParenting Outstanding Products Award and Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award 2009)

From the creative minds of a pair of Shanghai artists emerge these charming sock dolls. Each doll is 100% handmade, transforming the socks’ pattern, shape, and fabric ingeniously with needle and thread into unique, adorable toys that will delight children of all ages. $18 each


Bring It Into Focus
Boasting a unique vintage design, this unusual 35mm camera is equipped with a spectacular wide-angle lens, multiple exposure capabilities, and a rewind dial—everything you need for fun-filled escapades.  $59

Tell time by aperture setting!  A novel gift for the photography enthusiast in your life.

Black leather band, glass face, zinc alloy casing, Japanese quartz movement. Battery included; one-year warranty. Comes attractively boxed. $35


Elegant Eco-Friendly Jewelry
Unique jewelry made of recycled resin. Each piece contains a minimum of 40% pre-consumer recycled material that would otherwise be waste from producers of skylights, store fixtures, and vending machine covers.

The organic elements—such as bamboo and seaweed—are sourced from artisan communities in developing countries throughout the world, helping indigenous tradespeople to develop their skills and businesses and providing a boost to local economies. $35–$45

Singular accessories that are environmentally friendly and gracefully chic make up this natural bijoux collection, crafted by hand from the tagua nut, which comes from the ivory-nut palm growing wild in the tropical forest of South America. Bold, playful and colorful, individual variations on each piece is guaranteed—each tagua nut has its own distinctive grain and shape which gives a remarkably uncommon quality to each piece of jewelry. All of these unique eco jewelry pieces are 100% organic and sustainable, making them naturally beautiful. Most of the artisans involved in the handcrafting of these designs are women, all of whom earn fair wages in a humane workplace that provides safe and healthy working conditions in Colombia. $25 - $115

Modern Antiquity: Picasso, de Chirico, Léger, Picabia
An unlikely episode in the history of European Modernism is the alliance between the avant-garde and the antique forged by artists of impeccable radical credentials. This book focuses on the reinventions and transformations of antiquity in the work of four culturally and politically diverse artists between 1905 and 1935. In distinctly different ways, classicizing creations such as de Chirico’s enigmatic piazzas, Picasso’s post-Cubist women, Léger’s mechanized nudes, and Picabia’s Transparencies reflect what the eyes and minds of these artists found so arresting in the arts of antiquity and how they made those arts modern.

Classicism in the modern age has often been condemned as a conservative regression of the avant-garde in light of the totalitarian regimes that formed in Europe during this period. Yet far from being a reactionary language, the “classical” provided a range of elements that were surprisingly in tune with the “modern.” Modern Antiquity draws unprecedented attention not only to the aesthetic impact ancient art had on twentieth-century artists but also to the ways in which these artists shaped our contemporary experience of antiquity. The result is a new and more nuanced appreciation of the complex role the classical past has played in western modernity. $39.95

Books: A Living History
From the first scribbling on papyrus to the emergence of the e-book, this wide-ranging overview of the history of the book provides a fascinating look at one of the most efficient, versatile, and enduring technologies ever developed. The author traces the evolution of the book from the rarefied world of the hand-copied and illuminated volume in ancient and medieval times, through the revolutionary impact of Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press, to the rise of a publishing culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the subsequent impact of new technologies on this culture.

Many of the great individual titles of the past two millennia are discussed as well as the range of book types and formats that have emerged in the last few hundred years, from serial and dime novels to paperbacks, children’s books, and Japanese manga. The volume ends with a discussion of the digital revolution in book production and distribution and the ramifications for book lovers, who can’t help but wonder whether the book will thrive—or even survive—in a form they recognize. $34.95 

Miraculous Bouquets: Flower and Fruit Paintings by Jan van Huysum
Precisely rendered to dazzle the eye with their botanical accuracy, the sumptuous arrays of fruit and flowers by Dutch painter Jan van Huysum (1682–1749) were among the most avidly collected paintings of the eighteenth century. The arrangements were painstakingly executed over many months and commanded exceptionally high prices from admirers throughout Europe.

This delightful book explores two of Van Huysum’s most important still-life paintings, Vase of Flowers and Fruit Piece, both in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum. Executed in 1722, they are among the first works to feature the innovations Van Huysum introduced to a beloved Dutch tradition. Like his seventeenthcentury predecessors, Van Huysum combined flowers and fruits that flourished at different times of the year into a single bouquet. He worked directly from nature rather than from sketchbooks and animated the arrangements with crawling insects and butterflies. His inimitable technique resulted in an illusionism that continues to captivate us today. The book’s sumptuous plates reveal the artist’s highly nuanced palette, and his exuberant, asymmetrical arrangements reflect emerging rococo rhythms. $9.95

Julius Shulman’s Los Angeles
The American architectural photographer Julius Shulman (1910–2009) is one of the few image makers to have documented, as well as witnessed, nearly an entire century of Los Angeles history. His captivating photographs serve as a visual record of the dramatic evolution of this exciting and diverse metropolis.

Shulman’s best-known images consist of mid-century views of Modernist domestic interiors, notably the iconic Case Study House #22 of 1960, in which two well-dressed women sit inside the floor-to-ceiling window walls of a Pierre Koenig—designed house that seems to float like a spaceship over the light-spangled urban sprawl beyond. Not as well known but equally powerful are Shulman’s images of Union Station and downtown’s vintage office buildings, the dynamic Wilshire Boulevard corridor, the region’s eclectic coffee shops and movie theaters, the sweeping canopy of the Century Plaza Hotel, the diverse fabric of L.A.’s residential neighborhoods, and the panoramic vistas of the city of the future under construction.

The author selected sixty images from the Getty Research Institute’s Shulman archive for this elegant book, for which he also wrote an informative essay on the photographer’s exceptional capacity to capture the diverse built environment of Los Angeles. $9.95

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The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations:  the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.
The J. Paul Getty Museum collects in seven distinct areas, including Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts, and photographs gathered internationally. The Museum’s mission is to make the collection meaningful and attractive to a broad audience by presenting and interpreting the works of art through educational programs, special exhibitions, publications, conservation, and research.

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