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Acquisitions and Donations Add to the Getty's Collection at the Museum and the Getty Research Institute

January 24, 2005

LOS ANGELES—The Getty’s unique combination of expertise—including its leadership in the research, conservation, presentation and interpretation of the visual arts—has reaffirmed its reputation as an important repository of art. Over the years, the Getty’s collection has grown through numerous acquisitions and, increasingly, through the donations of significant pieces of art.

Works that enter the Getty’s collection can be guaranteed a large audience and expert care from staff conservation specialists.  In addition, artworks are fully utilized. They are made available to researchers for study, helping to advance the field.  Many are featured in the development of classroom aids, lesson plans, and other educational materials and courses for students and teachers, and are documented in Getty publications and on the art database online at  These efforts ensure the longevity of the works and their legacies.
Among the works that have recently entered the Getty’s collection include The Adoration of the Magi with Saint Anthony Abbot (about 1390–1410), a rare and masterful example of the International Gothic style that dominated tastes across Europe around 1400. It is one of very few northern European panel paintings of this period in any American museum. Another significant addition to the paintings collection is Gustave Courbet’s Grotto of Sarrazine near Nans-sous-Sainte-Anne (about 1864). Rich with earthy hues and textures that swirl around a tunnel-like entrance, drawing attention to the clear blue stream running through it, the work is a dynamic composition that emphasizes the specific qualities of this primordial cave.

In the photographs collection, newly acquired works include a group of 43 pictures by Henri Cartier-Bresson, made between 1946 to 1961, and Agassiz Rock and the Yosemite Falls, from Union Point (about 1878) by Carleton Watkins, an American photography pioneer. The Getty’s leadership in research into the conservation of chemical-based photography, including its scientific study of the world’s first photograph, has made it particularly respected as a repository of works in the medium. Noted recent additions have been made to the drawings and manuscripts collections as well. Information on recent acquisitions can be found online at

With one of the largest art libraries in the world, the Getty Research Institute (GRI) is a valued resource for scholars from around the world. The holdings in the special collections of the Research Library at the GRI are collected with a scholarly audience in mind, focusing on primary source materials such as original documents, personal notes and letters, prints, rare books, photographs, journals, and sketchbooks.  These materials provide a direct link to artists, offering researchers unparalleled insight into their minds, motivations, and environments. Over the years, many artists, collectors, critics, and other key figures in the art world have chosen the GRI to hold historical documents of their work.
Examples include the internationally renowned architectural photographer Julius Shulman, who recently transferred to the GRI his vast archive containing over 260,000 color and black-and-white negatives, prints, and transparencies of his work that date back to the mid-1930s. They are a rich record of Shuman’s career, which celebrates the medium of photography as well as the art of architecture, and an important document of the development of modern architecture. Included in the archive are his iconic images of buildings by architectural visionaries such as Richard Neutra and Frank Lloyd Wright. The acquisition—along with the GRI’s collection of
photographs by Lucien Hervé of works by the great architect Le Corbusier—makes the Getty one of the most important centers for the study of architecturethrough the medium of photography.   

Another personal archive that has come to the GRI focuses on the work of Marcia Tucker, the American curator, critic, and art historian who was one of the most provocative and influential voices in the art world of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Her personal notebooks, video documentation of interviews and installations, and extensive correspondences with artists document her unique role as a late 20th-century impresario.

The Getty’s expertise in paper conservation has made it an important repository for books. A recent addition is a rare and well-preserved hand-colored copy of one of the most famous Chinese illustrated books, Gengzhi Tu [Illustrations of Tilling and Weaving], produced in 1696 at the imperial printing press in the Forbidden City (Beijing, China). The book’s 46 woodblock illustrations are paired with poems by Emperor Kangxi. As an amalgam of essential texts and images, the book is an important publication for researchers of Qing dynasty culture.

While James Ensor’s commanding work Christ’s Entry into Brussels in 1889 is held in the collections of the Museum, the GRI has in its collection an etching based on the painting. The work mirrors the painting’s harsh commentary on religion, politics, and the arts in the artist’s contemporary Brussels. A technical and formal tour de force, the etching, like the painting, played a significant role in the development of Expressionism.  Both works add context for understanding each other.


Maureen McGlynn
Getty Communications Dept.

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About the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

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