Analyzing a Historical Figure

Analyze the Development of a Structure over Time.

The J. Paul Getty Trust is the institution in-charge of endorsing individuals and organizations committed to the advancement and preservation of visual arts locally, as well as, throughout the world. Jean Paul Getty, the American oil Tycoon founded the private foundation in 1953. The foundation was opened formally to the masses in 1954. It started as a small museum 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 and 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 the museum and archival collections.

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J. Paul Getty was an avid collector of art and began his hobby in the 1930s. 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, the exhibit areas are organized thematically so the antiques can be viewed from an individual’s 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 was activated in the 1980s. 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, and 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 seeks 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 catalogs. The library has in their possession 50,000 rare books and 27,000 single prints among other rare publications such as photographs and drawings. These resources are at the disposal of the Institute for the aim of adding value to the research of art historians and other scholars. The GRI is on the verge of launching an 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 has been underfunded and undervalued for the longest time. In a 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 and 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 to contribute to the intellectual success of the Getty. Since the inception of the program, the foundation has granted over 7,000 grants in more than 180 countries. The grants have made art more international and 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 and 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 several publications where I was able to draw information at ease, without worrying that the data was erroneous.


Froemke, Susan, Bob Eisenhardt, and Albert Maysles. Concert of Wills: Making the Getty Center. DVD. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust, 1997.

Hackman, William, and Mark Greenberg, eds. Inside the Getty. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust, 2008.

J. Paul Getty Trust. Guide to the Getty Villa. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust, 2005.

J. Paul Getty Trust. The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collection. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust, 2015.

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.

Williams, Harold M., Bill Lacy, Stephen D. Rountree, and Richard Meier. “The Getty Center: Design Process.” 1991.

Williams, Harold M., Richard Meier, Stephen D. Rountree, and Ada Louise Huxtable. Making Architecture: The Getty Center. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust, 1997

How would you respectfully engage with community members while conducting this type of research?

It is important to get to know the community surrounding your research well enough to understand the community’s perceptions of the project you want to research. This would entail spending time with the community for some time to establish the most effective communication method to use on the community.

The researcher must focus on building trust since individuals reject divulging information from people they do not trust. Therefore, establishing trust is vital in extracting information from the community.

It is also vital to get the informed consent from participating people on your research to deem it valid. Informing the communities early that there will be research near their area, is important to avoid hostilities that may arise. Informing the community early enough is a sign of respect, which will elicit willing positive feedback.

Many communities distrust the motives and techniques of research. Some knowledge of the history of exploitation and abuse in medical research in the U.S., and others may be “burned out” from participation in studies. Some may have immediate needs that make research seem irrelevant, while some may merely lack an understanding of the research enterprise.

Thus, when research is involved, the challenges of community engagement may be particularly profound. The vignettes that follow address some of the most common dilemmas in engaging a community in research and maintaining the relationship over time. The take-home messages offered at the end of each vignette are grounded on the principles of community engagement, as they demonstrate the importance of understanding communities; establishing trust, respect, equity, and committed relationships; and working with the community to identify the best ways to translate knowledge into improved health

To engage respectfully with The Getty’s community members while conducting research the best approach is communicating effectively to build mutual trust and improve the research project, as well as, making the experience as beneficial as possible.  Effective engagement takes place when there are two-way communication and mutual trust between the researcher and the community. Researchers must also be able to address any concerns or issues that the community might have about the research. One way to build trust and understanding with communities is to engage with participants from the earliest opportunity. Therefore, learning to understand your participants and engaging with them effectively benefits both parties. However, building trust is fundamental in that, presence or absence will determine the effectiveness and sustainability of the research project.

The Getty Foundation is in charge of research in the fields of archaeology, which may require the excavation of certain sites for the purpose of the study. Since the foundation conducts research internationally, it is important for scholars to use the right communication medium. In countries where several languages are spoken, it is vital that the scholars identify the language the community would be most comfortable in speaking so that the scholar can speak that language. The scholar can engage the help of a translator or learn the language if the study takes time. Speaking in the common language that the community uses helps people to be more comfortable around the scholar, which makes participating and contributing to the research easier.

In conclusion, the Getty foundation was developed from J. Paul Getty’s germ of an idea to educate the world with art to a range of intricately designed programs that have aided the advancement, conservation, and preservation of the visual arts. Future, as well as, current generations have an opportunity to encounter art, firsthand for pleasure. Funding for the artistically has opened doors to the development of artistic disciplines. Advanced research has led to the conservation of art through scientific research. Therefore, the Getty Foundation has gone through a metamorphosis that has produced phenomenal advancements in the art world in Los Angeles and in the world.


Ahmed S. M. Palermo AS. 2010. Community engagement in research: frameworks for education and peer review. American Journal of Public Health 100: 1380–7.

J. Paul Getty Trust. The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collection. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust, 2015.

The Joys of Collecting. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust, 2011. First published by Hawthorn Books, Inc., New York, 1965.

History of the Oil Business of George F. and J. Paul Getty 1903-1939. J. Paul Getty, 1941.

My Life and Fortunes. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1963.

As I See It: The Autobiography of J. Paul Getty. Rev. ed. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust, 2003.

Kate Deioma AS. 2018 The J Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa. Retrieved from

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