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Getty Villa construction records, 1960, 1964, 1968-1986, undated (bulk 1971-1974)

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.
Guide to the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Villa Construction Records, 1960, 1964, 1968-1986 and undated (bulk 1971-1974)

Administrative History

After considering various options for expanding his ranch house in Malibu California which had served as a private museum since 1954, J. Paul Getty decided in the fall of 1968 to build a new museum on the same property, 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. The archaeologist Norman Neuerburg, who had studied the ruins of Herculaneum and was an authority on Roman domestic architecture, was retained as a consultant for the project. The Santa Monica firm Langdon & Wilson was hired as architect, and Stephen Garrett, who had served as Getty's consultant in the remodeling of a Getty home in Posillipo, Italy, was retained as overseer of the construction. Landscape architect Emmet Wemple designed the gardens, Garth Benton worked on the murals, and Bruce Ptolomy worked on the fountains. The construction itself was done by Dinwiddie Construction Co., with various subcontractors. Construction began on December 21, 1970, and the new museum opened to the public on January 16, 1974. Despite the enthusiastic public response, mixed critical response questioned the decision to recreate an ancient building.

Upon the death of Mr. Getty and the subsequent establishment of the J. Paul Getty Trust, the Getty Villa became part of a larger vision. The Villa was redesigned by architects Machado and Silvetti Associates and reopened in 2006. While most of the Museum's collections are housed at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the antiquities collection is still housed at the Villa. The Getty Villa serves a varied audience through the permanent collection, changing exhibitions, conservation, scholarship, research, and public programs in an intimate setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Public and scholarly programs at the Villa include lectures, seminars, conferences, workshops, symposia, film series, musical concerts, and theatrical performances in the Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Outdoor Classical Theater.




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