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Ranch House records, 1921, 1945-1960s, 1975-1976, 1980s, 1999-2007, undated

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 Ranch House Records, 1921, 1945-1960s, 1975-1976, 1980s, 1999-2007, and undated

Administrative History

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."]

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