Jean Paul Getty, founder of Getty Oil Company, was an avid collector of art and antiquities. His collection totaled to approximately $2.7 billion in 2014. His collection was left to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California. He established the J. Paul Getty Trust in 1953 which operates the Museum along with the Getty Foundation, the Getty Research Institute, and the Getty Conservation Institute. The trust is the world’s wealthiest art institution today.
JP Getty’s passion for the arts inspired him to open a gallery adjacent to his home atop a hill in Pacific Palisades in 1954. He quickly ran out of room and built a second museum, the Getty Villa, down the hill from the first location.
The design of the villa was inspired by the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum along with details from other ancient sites. It opened in 1974 but was never visited by Getty who died in 1976.
The Getty Villa shows Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities within this beautiful Roman architecture and gardens inspired by the ancient Romans. The museum is arranged by themes like Gods and Goddesses, and the Stories of the Trojan War. The museum also hosts live performances in an outdoor and indoor theatre. It’s also a great place for families, offering educational programs for children. Some of the activities include decorating Greek vases and projecting shadows onto a screen that represents a Greek urn. This room, Family Forum gallery, also allows kids to handle polystyrene props from Greek and Roman culture.
The prolonged drought in California has forced the museum to empty the famed, and iconic, Getty Villa Pool which they have painted to simulate a water-filled pool. There’s some confusion to where the Getty Villa is located. The museum has advertised it is in Malibu but the zip codes indicates it is in Pacific Palisades. It’s in Pacific Palisades, but no matter where it is, it’s definately worth a visit. Before you visit, make sure you reserve your pass on the official Getty Villa website. Entry is free but there is a $15 parking fee.
The Getty Villa provides a magnificent home for these old relics in a sophisticated ensemble of buildings, plaza, and landscaping.