J. Paul Getty Museum

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The J. Paul Getty Museum
Aerial Getty Museum.jpg
J. Paul Getty Museum
Established1974 (1974)
Location1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, California; and 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California
Coordinates 34°04′39″N118°28′30″W / 34.07750°N 118.47500°W / 34.07750; -118.47500 Coordinates: 34°04′39″N118°28′30″W / 34.07750°N 118.47500°W / 34.07750; -118.47500
Type Art museum
Visitors2,023,467 (2016) [1]
Director Timothy Potts
Website www.getty.edu/museum/

The J. Paul Getty Museum, commonly referred to as the Getty, is an art museum in Los Angeles, California housed on two campuses: the Getty Center and Getty Villa. [1]

Contents

The Getty Center is located in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles and features pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, decorative arts, and photographs from the inception of photography through present day from all over the world. [2] [3] The original Getty museum, the Getty Villa, is located in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles and displays art from Ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. [4]

History

In 1974, J. Paul Getty opened a museum in a re-creation of the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum on his property in Malibu, California. [5] In 1982, the museum became the richest in the world when it inherited US$1.2 billion. [6] In 1983, after an economic downturn in what was then West Germany, the Getty Museum acquired 144 illuminated medieval manuscripts from the financially struggling Ludwig Collection in Aachen; John Russell, writing in The New York Times , said of the collection, "One of the finest holdings of its kind ever assembled, it is quite certainly the most important that was in private hands." [7] In 1997, the museum moved to its current location in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles; the Malibu museum, renamed the "Getty Villa", was renovated and reopened in 2006.

GettyGuide

The Getty attracts approximately 1.8 million visitors a year. J. Paul Getty Museum 2015.jpg
The Getty attracts approximately 1.8 million visitors a year.

A suite of interactive multimedia tools called GettyGuide allows visitors to access information about exhibitions. Within the Museum, the GettyGuide multimedia player provides commentary from curators and conservators on many works of art.

Architect Richard Meier chose beige-colored Italian travertine panels to cover the retaining walls and to serve as paving stones for the arrival plaza and Museum courtyard. J. Paul Getty Museum courtyard.jpg
Architect Richard Meier chose beige-colored Italian travertine panels to cover the retaining walls and to serve as paving stones for the arrival plaza and Museum courtyard.

The controversies with Italy and Greece

In the 1970s and 1980s, the curator, Jiří Frel, designed a tax manipulation scheme which expanded the museum collection of antiquities, essentially buying artifacts of dubious provenance, as well as a number of artifacts generally considered fakes, such as the Getty kouros. In 1984, Frel was demoted, and in 1986, he resigned. [10]

The Getty is involved in a controversy regarding proper title to some of the artwork in its collection. The museum's previous curator of antiquities, Marion True (hired by Frel), was indicted in Italy in 2005 (along with famed dealer Robert E. Hecht) on criminal charges relating to trafficking in stolen antiquities. Similar charges have been addressed by the Greek authorities. The primary evidence in the case came from the 1995 raid of a Geneva, Switzerland, warehouse which had contained a fortune in stolen artifacts. Italian art dealer Giacomo Medici was arrested in 1997; his operation was thought to be "one of the largest and most sophisticated antiquities networks in the world, responsible for illegally digging up and spiriting away thousands of top-drawer pieces and passing them on to the most elite end of the international art market". [11] In 2005 True was forced to tender her resignation by the Board of Trustees, which announced her early retirement. Italy allowed the statute of limitations of the charges filed against her to expire in October 2010. [12]

In a letter to the J. Paul Getty Trust on December 18, 2006, True stated that she was being made to "carry the burden" for practices which were known, approved, and condoned by the Getty's Board of Directors. [13] True is currently under investigation by Greek authorities over the acquisition of a 2,500-year-old funerary wreath, that was illegally excavated and smuggled outside of the country. The wreath, along with a 6th-century BC statue of a kore, have been returned to Greece and are currently exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki. [14] Additionally, a 2,400-year-old, black limestone stele and a marble votive relief dating from about 490 BC were also returned.

The succulent garden at the museum The Succulent Garden at the Getty Museum.jpg
The succulent garden at the museum

On November 20, 2006, the director of the museum, Michael Brand, announced that 26 disputed pieces were to be returned to Italy, but not the Victorious Youth, which is still claimed by the Italian authorities. In 2007, the Los Angeles J. Paul Getty Museum was forced to return 40 artifacts, including a 5th-century BC statue of the goddess Aphrodite, which was looted from Morgantina, an ancient Greek settlement in Sicily. [15] The Getty Museum resisted the requests of the Italian government for nearly two decades, only to admit later that "there might be 'problems'" attached to the acquisition." [16] In 2006, Italian senior cultural official Giuseppe Proietti said: "The negotiations haven't made a single step forward." Only after he suggested the Italian government "to take cultural sanctions against the Getty, suspending all cultural cooperation," [17] did the J. Paul Getty Museum return the antiquities.

In another unrelated case in 1999, the Getty Museum had to hand over three antiquities to Italy after determining they were stolen. The objects included a Greek red-figure kylix from the 5th-century BC, signed by the painter Onesimos and the potter Euphronios as potter, looted from the Etruscan site of Cerveteri; a torso of the god Mithra from the 2nd-century AD, and the head of a youth by the Greek sculptor Polykleitos. [18]

In 2016, the terracotta head of the Greek god Hades was returned to Sicily (Italy). The archaeological artifact was looted from Morgantina in the 1970s. The Getty museum purchased the terracotta head of Hades in 1985 from the New York collector Maurice Tempelsman, who had purchased it from the London dealer Robin Symes. Getty records show the museum paid $530,000 for it. [19] [20] On December 21, 2016, the head of Hades was added to the collection of the archaeological museum of Aidone, where it joined the statue of Demeter, the mother of his consort Persephone. Sicilian archaeologists found a blue curl that was missing from Hades' beard, and so it proved the origin of the terracotta head.[ citation needed ]

Response during the COVID-19 pandemic

Many museums turned to their existing social media presences to engage their audience online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Inspired by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and Instagram accounts such as the Dutch Tussen Kunst & Quarantaine (“between art and quarantine”) and Covid Classics, the Getty sponsored the Getty Museum Challenge, inviting people to use everyday objects to recreate works of art and share their creations on social media, prompting thousands of submissions. [21] [22] The museum was among those singled out for particular praise by industry analysts for their successful social media content strategy during the shutdown, both for the challenge [23] [24] and for incorporating its works into the popular video game Animal Crossing . [25]

Selected paintings collection highlights

Selected objects collection highlights

See also

Related Research Articles

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Lysippos Greek sculptor of 4th century BC

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Ancient Greek sculpture

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The Getty Villa is at the easterly end of the Malibu coast in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, United States. One of two locations of the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Villa is an educational center and museum dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. The collection has 44,000 Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities dating from 6,500 BC to 400 AD, including the Lansdowne Heracles and the Victorious Youth. The UCLA/Getty Master's Program in Archaeological and Ethnographic Conservation is housed on this campus.

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Looted art

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Victorious Youth Bronze by Greek sculptor Lysippos

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Marion True was the former curator of antiquities for the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California. True was indicted on April 1, 2005, by the Italian court, on criminal charges accusing her of participating in a conspiracy that laundered stolen artifacts through private collections and creating a fake paper trail; the Greeks later followed suit. The trial brought to light many questions about museum administration, repatriation, and ethics.

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Etruscan art

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Getty kouros Greek kouros statue, possible forgery, at the Getty Museum

The Getty kouros is an over-life-sized statue in the form of a late archaic Greek kouros. The dolomitic marble sculpture was bought by the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California, in 1985 for ten million dollars and first exhibited there in October 1986.

Rembrandt in Southern California

Fourteen Rembrandt paintings are held in collections in Southern California. This accumulation began with J. Paul Getty's purchase of the Portrait of Marten Looten in 1938, and is now the third-largest concentration of Rembrandt paintings in the United States. Portrait of Marten Looten is now housed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

<i>Lansdowne Heracles</i> Roman sculpture of Heracles

The Lansdowne Heracles is a Roman marble sculpture of about 125 CE. Today it is in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum's Getty Villa in Malibu, California. The statue represents the hero Heracles as a beardless Lysippic youth grasping the skin of the Nemean lion with his club upon his shoulder. The work was discovered in 1790 in Tivoli, Italy, on the site of Hadrian's Villa, where many fine Hadrianic copies and pastiches of Greek sculptures had been discovered since the 16th century. Today, the sculpture is considered to be an example of Roman-era improvisations on the Greek sculptural style of the fourth century BCE rather than a copy of a specific Greek original.

Jiří Frel was a Czech and American archaeologist. Between 1973 and 1986 he served as a curator for the J. Paul Getty Museum. He is credited with the expansion of the collection of antiquities of the museum, but he was also involved in a number of controversies including a tax manipulation scheme to buy artifacts of dubious provenance and purchase of a number of artifacts widely considered to be fake.

Karol Wight American museum director specializing in ancient glass

Karol B. Wight is a museum administrator and is currently the President and Executive Director of The Corning Museum of Glass. She specializes in the field of ancient glass.

References

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  2. http://www.getty.edu/museum/about.html Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  3. http://www.getty.edu/art/photographs/ Retrieved March 16, 2018.
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  13. Felch, Jason; Frammolino, Ralph (December 29, 2006). "Getty lets her take fall, ex-curator says". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved May 5, 2010.
  14. "$1.5 mn Macedonian Gold Wreath Attracts Greek Populace". elitechoice.org. March 30, 2007.
  15. Ariel, David (August 1, 2007). "Getty to Return Antiquities to Italy". Forbes .
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