While he was despised by many during his lifetime, J.P. Getty has left the world a wonderful legacy. Getty was one of the world’s first billionaires who like Bill Gates was the richest man in the world during his time. Getty, an unpleasant but highly successful businessman, was a passionate collector of antiquities and art. Collecting art became the center of his life. His view towards his hobby is summarized by his quote, “The beauty one can find in art is one of the pitifully few real and lasting products of human endeavor.”
Getty wanted others to share in his passion. His personal collection formed the basis of the two museums in Los Angeles that bear his name, the J. Paul Getty Museum in West Los Angeles (Brentwood) and the Getty Villa in Malibu. His estate left $661 million to the Getty Trust in 1976 and that money has been wisely invested, used to buy numerous additional pieces of art and to create places for its presentation. The Getty Trust's work has expanded to include education and art preservation. The trust is still very well funded, even after these massive expenditures, and it looks like its work can continue for decades to come.
Getty himself supervised the construction of his first museum during the 1970s, the Getty Villa, on his property in Malibu near his home. The Getty Villa is modeled after a first-century Roman country house, the Villa dei Papiri, in Herculaneum, Italy. Getty's Villa is situated just above the Pacific Ocean. It is a beautiful building with magnificent grounds and gardens. Sadly, Getty never saw the completed Villa he spent so much effort and money to build. Today it houses the antiquities portion of Getty’s collection, including Greek, Roman and Etruscan pieces (modern works are housed in the Getty Museum in nearby Brentwood). Admission to the Villa is free. You need to reserve your admission (no charge), and you must pay for parking, a comparative bargin. It will take at least a half day to enjoy the facility and have a cursory look at its collection.
This is the first of a two part blog on the Getty Villa, this one featuring the architecture, landscaping and physical facility of the Villa. On Friday I posted a gallery with some key pieces of the museum's vast collection of art which you can visit at this link. For legends to the following photos, please hold your mouse over the image, or click on the thumbnails below.