September 27, 2016


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Julie Jaskol
Getty Communications
(310) 440-7607

Installation tells the story of businessman and art collector

J. Paul Getty with his lion cub named Teresa. A lover of animals, Getty established a Wildlife Conservation Prize in 1974.
Institutional Archives, the Getty Research Institute. Copyright: Status undetermined.

Los Angeles – The J. Paul Getty Museum opened today a new permanent installation that tells the story of its founder J. Paul Getty (1892-1976), the businessman and art collector who used the bulk of his fortune to create the global arts institution that bears his name.

“Through his generosity, J. Paul Getty had a vast and far-reaching impact on the worlds of art, culture and philanthropy. With J. Paul Getty Life and Legacy, we explore the background and achievements of this fascinating man, and highlight the extent of his influence on the visual arts and cultural heritage around the world,” said Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “More than two million visitors come to the Getty each year and many of them ask questions about who he was and what he accomplished. This installation will tell that story.”

Named the world’s richest man by Fortune Magazine in 1957, Getty made his fortune in the oil business, and ventured into aerospace, hotels, and mobile home manufacturing, among other enterprises. He married five times and had five sons. While he lived much of his life in Los Angeles, he moved to England in 1951 never to return.

Getty began collecting art in the 1930s, and applied the same eye for underappreciated value that he brought to his business interests, with a particular interest in ancient Greek and Roman sculpture and 18th- century European decorative arts. Beginning in 1954, he shared his growing collection with the public at his Malibu ranch house, part of which he converted into a museum. When the collection outgrew the ranch house, Getty built a museum on the property, modeled after the Roman Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, Italy. Getty supervised every aspect of its design and construction from England, but never saw it in person. He died in 1976, two years after the museum opened to the public.

Upon his death, Getty Museum officials were stunned to learn he had left virtually his entire fortune to his small namesake museum, making it the world’s wealthiest art museum. The charter was remarkably broad, calling only for “a museum, gallery of art and library for the diffusion of artistic and general knowledge,” to be overseen by the J. Paul Getty Trust, which at its creation became the world’s largest cultural and philanthropic organization dedicated to the visual arts. Today, the Trust consists of four programs: the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Research Institute, Getty Conservation Institute and Getty Foundation.

J. Paul Getty Life and Legacy combines photographs, video, oral histories and archival material, primarily from the Getty Research Institute, in interactive exhibits that tell the story of Getty’s life, along with a few select objects that Getty collected. The installation was developed by a collaborative team at the Getty with consultant Belle & Wissell, Co., a firm specializing in design and technical experiences for exhibit environments and other public spaces.

“This installation examines the legacy that Getty created and continues to be a major force within the art world today, from the creation of the J. Paul Getty Trust and the growth of its programs, to the building of the Getty Center, and the renovation of the Getty Villa more than 30 years after it opened in 1974,” added Potts. “Getty once wrote ‘The beauty one can find in art is one of the pitifully few real and lasting products of human endeavor.’ I think even he would be surprised at how lasting and powerful an impact his endeavor has had.”
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 Pacific Palisades.

The J. Paul Getty Museum collects Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts to 1900, as well as photographs from around the world to the present day. The Museum’s mission is to display and interpret its collections, and present important loan exhibitions and publications for the enjoyment and education of visitors locally and internationally. This is supported by an active program of research, conservation, and public programs that seek to deepen our knowledge of and connection to works of art.

Visiting the Getty Center
The Getty Center is open Tuesday through Friday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is closed Mondays, and January 1, Thanksgiving Day and December 25. Admission to the Getty Center is always free. Parking is $15 per car, but reduced to $10 after 3 p.m. No reservation is required for parking or general admission. Reservations are required for event seating and groups of 15 or more. Please call (310) 440-7300 (English or Spanish) for reservations and information. The TTY line for callers who are deaf or hearing impaired is (310) 440-7305. The Getty Center is at 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, California.

Same-day parking at both Museum locations (Getty Center and Getty Villa) is available for one fee through the Getty’s Pay Once, Park Twice program. Visit the Museum Information Desk at the Center or the Villa to obtain a coupon good for same-day complimentary parking at the other site.

Additional information is available at
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