Scope and Content of Collection
Getty, J. Paul (Jean Paul), 1892-1976
Title: Ranch House records
Date (inclusive): 1921, 1945-1960s, 1975-1976, 1980s, 1999-2007, undated
70.6 linear feet
(6 boxes, 1 binder, 15 flat files)
Records consist of correspondence, memoranda, reports, legal documents, brochures, clippings, architectural drawings, and
photographs, 1921, 1945-1960s, 1975-1976, 1980s, 1999-2007 and undated, that describe the history of, and planned and executed
alterations and additions to, J. Paul Getty's Ranch House in Malibu, California. Also included is some administrative material
relating to Ranch House personnel.
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.
The Getty Research Institute
Institutional Records and Archives
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California 90049-1688
Identifier/Call Number: IA20021
Located just off the Pacific Coast Highway about a mile north of Sunset Boulevard on 64-acres near Malibu, California, the
Ranch House became the site for the original J. Paul Getty Museum. Purchased by J. Paul Getty in 1945 from Claude I. Parker
for the sum of $250,000, the property was originally part of an early nineteenth century Spanish land grant. In the 1920s
Parker, a Los Angeles attorney, purchased a portion of the property from Perfecto Marquez, a descendent of one of the area's
original settlers. Parker constructed a house, the core of the extant Ranch House, and several outbuildings. Getty made additions
and major alterations to the Ranch House, including the addition of a second floor to the eastern portion, creating the house
that stands on the property today.
At the time Getty purchased the Malibu property, he already owned a house in Santa Monica, at 270 Ocean Front, and therefore
only occupied the Ranch House on weekends. In 1946, Getty commissioned the Los Angeles architect John Byers to design additions
to the Ranch House, primarily to house Getty's art collections, including a second floor at the eastern end, the Louis XV
Room, the Hallway Gallery, the Louis XVI Room, the Small Antiquities Room, and the Courtyard. In 1953 Mr. Getty established
the the J. Paul Getty Museum Trust and in 1954 opened the gallery spaces at the eastern end of the house to the public. In
1957, a new gallery wing along the west edge of the courtyard was added by the Los Angeles-based architectural firm Claud
Beelman & Associates to house Getty’s expanding collection of antiquities. The eastern end of the house continued to function
as the museum until 1974 (with about 6,000 square feet of exhibition space), when the Getty Villa was completed and opened
as the primary repository for Mr. Getty’s art collection.
With the Getty Villa acting as the new museum quarters, portions of the Ranch House were altered to accommodate museum administration
and conservation laboratories. Major modifications to the interior of the Ranch House, including the conversion of gallery
spaces to conservation, laboratory and office spaces. The construction of new buildings in the courtyard area were carried
out during the mid-1980s.
The Ranch House was the subject of a 2001 Historic American Buildings Survey report.
[Adapted from "Historic American Buildings Survey Documentation."]
Scope and Content of Collection
Records consist of correspondence, memoranda, reports, contracts, permits, invoices, brochures, clippings, blueline prints,
blueprints, architectural drawings, and photographs, 1921, 1945-1960s, 1975-1976, 1980s, 1999-2007 and undated, that describe
J. Paul Getty's Ranch House in Malibu, California and the alterations made to it over time.
The history of the building is summarized in the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) documentation, which provides background
information on the Ranch House, including its significance, history, architecture, a site description, maps, plans, and photographs.
The renovation and administration records contain information about work undertaken in the 1950s to expand gallery space by
the Los Angeles architectural firm of Claud Beelman & Associates; the financial administration of the project was handled
by Norris Bramlett. The records describe preparations for a proposed visit by Getty to the Ranch in the 1960s through copies
of correspondence between Getty, Norris Bramlett, and Eileen Vogler, a long-time Getty employee. In March 1973, the Trustees
passed a resolution requesting that Getty authorize construction of an access road to the Museum, and the records contain
information about the costs and planning of this project. In the late 1970s the Trustees explored the possibility of expanding
the Ranch House for more gallery space. Gruen Associates was retained to advise the Trustees, and their report, related correspondence,
and a geological investigation is included in the records. Also included in the records are two inventories of the collections
conducted in the late 1970s (the purpose of these inventories is unknown); and letters from Stephen Garrett, Museum Director,
to the Ranch House staff discussing their transfer to museum staff. The records also include architectural drawings, a large
portion of which relate to the renovation of the property by the architect John Byers, begun in 1946, for both residential
and art gallery spaces in the house. The photographs included in the records depict the Ranch House before, during, and after
These records are organized in four series:
Series I. Historic American Buildings Survey documentation, 1999, 2001; Series II. Renovation and administration records, 1954-1982; Series III. Architectural drawings, 1921, 1945-1951, 1975-1976 and undated; Series IV. Photographs, circa 1950s-1960s, 1980s, 1999-2007.
Subjects - Topics
Dwellings--California--Los Angeles, 1940-1950
Genres and Forms of Material
Architectural drawings (visual works)
Blueprints (reprographic copies)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Claud Beelman & Associates
Fredericksen, Burton B.
Garrett, Stephen, 1922-
Getty, J. Paul (Jean Paul), 1892-1976
John Byers, Architect
Restrictions on Access
The records described in accessions 1986.IA.19, 1986.IA.20, 1986.IA.27, 1986.IA.39, 2003.IA.10, 2004.IA.13, and 2010.IA.04
are available for use by qualified researchers.
The records in accessionThe records in accession 1986.IA.50, subject to review for permanently closed information, are open
to qualified researchers. Requests for access will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
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.
Restrictions on Use
[Cite the item and series (as appropriate)], J. Paul Getty Ranch House Records, 1921, 1945-1960s, 1975-1976, 1999-2007 and
undated. Institutional Archives, Research Library, Getty Research Institute, Finding aid no. IA20021.
The records in this finding aid originated in accession nos. 1986.IA.01 boxes 46, 67, 86, 129 and 138 (transferred to the
Institutional Archives by the J. Paul Getty Museum); 1986.IA.19 (transferred to the Institutional Archives by the J. Paul
Getty Museum); 1986.IA.20 (transferred to the Institutional Archives by the J. Paul Getty Trust); 1986.IA.27 (transferred
to the Institutional Archives by Don Hull, Department of Photography, J. Paul Getty Museum); 1986.IA.39; 2003.IA.10; 2004.IA.13
(transferred to the Institutional Archives by Barbara Whitney, J. Paul Getty Museum); and 2010.IA.10 (transferred to the Institutional
Archivies by the Getty Research Institute, Villa Librarian, Barbara Furbush).
Please note that the material in accession 1986.IA.01 has been assigned a new accession number, 1986.IA.50, for purposes of
providing better administrative control.
A preliminary inventory was conducted by Institutional Archives part-time staff prior to 2003. In 2005, Sue Luftschein rehoused
the records and created this finding aid based, in part, on the original inventory. In 2010 Cyndi Shein added records and
revised the finding aid accordingly.