Analyzing a Historical Structure

Analyze the development of a structure over time.

The J. Paul Getty Trust is the institution in charge of endorsing individuals as well as organizations committed to the advancement and preservation of visual arts locally as well as throughout the world. The private foundation was founded by the American oil Tycoon in 1953. The foundation was opened formally to the masses in 1954. It was a small museum that was home to Greek as well as Roman Antiquities. French furniture and European paintings decked the halls of the small museum. The Getty, as is commonly referred to, birthed various programs such as the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute as well as the Getty Conservation Institute. The founder viewed art as a mesmerizing way to civilize the masses. Therefore, Paul was interested in showcasing art to the public for enlightenment as well as for pleasure. The foundation focuses on art history, advancing conservation practice, leadership and professional development as well as access to museum and archival collections.

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J. Paul Getty was an avid collector of art and began his hobby in the 1930’s. He had a keen eye for artworks which led him to display his collections in his ranch house in Los Angeles. Years of collecting antiques saw Getty diversify his yearning for art from the Mediterranean region. This growing interest led to the opening of a second museum near his home in 1974. The museum was modeled to the tune of the Villa dei Papiri of the first century A.D in commemoration of his love for Roman art. In 1997, the villa was closed and the collections were relocated to the hilltop Getty Center in L.A.  Renovations on the villa took nine years after which the villa reopened in 2006. The cost of repair as well as expansion amounted to 275 million dollars. The original building was completely destroyed leaving the framework and rebuilt as earthquake resistant. The rest of the canyon was built from top to bottom. New structures such as an Auditorium, Outdoor Theater, expanded Café as well as Museum Store in the narrow canyon were added to the new structure. 

The Villa houses the antique collection of the museum where the exhibit areas are organized thematically so you can view antiques at your prerogative. The Villa displays some interactive exhibits such as vases where the artistically inclined individuals are provided with markers to draw on the vases. The markers are easy to erase. The public can also enjoy the Villa amenities such as the café .

When Paul Getty died in 1976, Getty left his entire fortune to the Getty Museum cementing his stance on his love for the development of art to the public. After the legal wrangles that ensued after his last will and testament, most of his assets were successfully handed over to the Trust. The trustees with Getty’s vision in mind sought to advance the founders dream by expanding the museum as well as provide new programs that would be beneficial for the emancipation of art.

Through the collective effort of executives of the Trust, the Getty Conservation Institute, Getty Research Institute as well as the Grant Program were activated in the 1980’s. The Getty center opened in 1997.

The core principle of the Getty Conservation Institute is to further conservation methods through scientific research, education, training as well as dissemination of information through a variety of publications. Getty publications provide literature in various fields of art, architecture, archaeology as well as conservation. These publications are award winning books that result from the incredible work of the Getty Conservation Institute which is set to fit all audiences. The GCI seek to provide solutions for unsolved problems. The institute also works on built heritage such as buildings, structures as well as the materials used to build the structures and the methods used to conserve the heritage.

 The Getty Research Institute consists of libraries with numerous volumes of books, periodicals as well as auction catalogues. The library has in their possession 50,000 rare books,  27,000 single prints among other rare publications such as photographs as well as drawings. These resources are at the disposal of the Institute for the aim of adding value to research of art historians as well as other scholars. The GRI is on the verge of launching African American Art initiative. The C.E.O of the J. Paul Getty Trust said the Getty was interested in understanding the history of African American art thus was intent on venturing into the broad study of the art. The research Institute would provide insight into art that had been underfunded as well as undervalued for the longest time. Ina bid to further this study, the Getty acquired Saar’s archive as part of the latest program. According to Andrew Perchuk, the director of the GRI said,” She played a large role in our exploration of postwar Los Angeles Art that became Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945 – 1980, and this acquisition is a particularly meaningful way for us to launch the African American Art History Initiative.” The institute will provide a home for Saar’s collections so they can be available for scholars as well as the arts community.

The Getty Grant programs provide funds for established scholars as well as writers who have achieved merits in their fields. Recipients of the grants mostly reside in the GRI or the Getty Villa where they pursue their own projects free from academic obligations. The writers make use of Getty collections in a move to contribute to the intellectual success of the Getty. Since the inception of the program, the foundation has granted over 7000 grants in more than 180 countries. The grants have made art more international as well as interdisciplinary. The foundations have also made art content in museums available on a digital platform. In providing these funds the foundation has mentored a new generation of art gurus. The grants are facilitated according to the initiatives that solve problems in art history. Through the Grants program, the Getty is the trailblazer in support of art history and conservation on a fully international basis.

What challenges did you face in collecting the area subject history? How did you overcome these challenges?

The Getty is a famous foundation which is a point of interest for many scholars as well as researchers. I observed that fine details were omitted in some of the sources while some sources gave contrasting information on the history of the foundation. To overcome this challenge I focused on online sites and books published by the Getty foundation. The Getty has a myriad of publications where I was able to draw my information from at ease without worrying that the data was erroneous.

Resources about the Getty.

Walsh, John and Deborah Gribbon. The J. Paul Getty Museum and Its Collections: A Museum for the New Century. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust, 1997.

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