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Finding Aid for J. Paul Getty Museum Exhibition Photographs, 1980-2004 (bulk 1990-2004)
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative History
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Exhibition photographs
    Date (inclusive): 1980-2004 (bulk 1990-2004)
    Number: IA20032
    Creator/Collector: J. Paul Getty Museum
    Physical Description: 14.8 linear feet (36 boxes)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Institutional Records and Archives
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: 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).
    Request Materials: 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 English

    Administrative History

    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.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    The records described in accession 2007.IA.36 and 2011.IA.43 are available for use by qualified researchers. Access is limited to in-person consultation in the Research Library Reading Room.
    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

    Due to rights restrictions, reproductions cannot be provided for materials in this collection.

    Preferred Citation

    [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).

    Acquisition Information

    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.

    Processing History

    Records processed and finding aid created by Rebecca Fenning, February 2008. Accession 2011.IA.43 added by Cyndi Shein in 2011.

    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 Imaging 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.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Corporate Bodies

    Getty Center (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Getty Villa (Malibu, Calif.)

    Subjects - Topics

    Art museums--Exhibitions

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Negatives (photographic)
    Photographic prints
    Slides (photographs)