The Getty Center: Tips for Visiting the Museum and Viewing Its Art

The Getty Center: Tips for Visiting the Museum and Viewing Its Art

The Getty Museum, located in Los Angeles, California holds one of the top collections of European paintings and art sculpture in the United States and is a top destination for fine art connaisseurs, locals, and tourists visiting Los Angeles. The Getty Museum has two locations, one at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, and the recently built Getty Center in the picturesque hills of Brentwood, a Los Angeles suburb.

The Getty Museum started from the personal artwork collection of oil capitalist, J. Paul Getty, in the 1950s. J. Paul Getty used his own manor in Pacific Palisades, California, known as the Getty Villa, as the primary location of the Getty Museum. This amazing residence was designed after an ancient Roman-style villa and kept J. Paul Getty’s initial artwork collection of Greek and Roman artworks, 18th century French furniture, and European paintings and sculpture. Getty believed that experiencing the visual arts should be shared by the public and established the J. Paul Getty Museum Trust in 1953. Since then, the Getty permanent art collection has grown through acquisitions of the Getty Museum Trust to be one of the most significant European artwork collections in the United States.

In 1997, a new museum location, The Getty Center, in Brentwood, California was opened. The Getty Center is on a property of 24 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains, offering scenic views of Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean. The magnificent Getty Center consists of an impressive complex of buildings and a Central Garden, constructed in architect Richard Meier’s “Modernist style”. The Getty Center’s permanent art collection includes pre-20th century European paintings, manuscript, sculpture, and American and European photographs. The Center’s most significant works include Vincent Van Gogh’s Irises, Paul Gauguin’s Arii Matamoe, Pontormo’s Portrait of a Halberdier, Abrecht Durer’s Stag Beetle, and the Stammheim Missal.

– Hours: Tue-Sun: 10am-530pm; Fri: Closes at 9pm; Closed Mon.

– Admission to the Getty Center is free.

– The Getty Museum receives 1.2 million visitors annually and does get crowded on weekends. Recommend: Visiting during weekdays and arriving early to secure a parking spot and avoid crowds.

– Parking is $15 per car. It is free after 5pm.

– Free performances and films occur weekly, such as the popular “Saturdays Off the 405” music series. See Museum website for details. Some events require reservations.

– Audioguides are available at the Pick-Up Desk in the Museum Entrance Hall, and GettyGuide stations. Cost: $5.

– Free Museum tours (45min-1hr) and gallery talks (15-20min) are offered daily. Check Museum website for topics & scheduling.

– The Family Room offers a place for families to learn about art together. Make a mask, create a sculpture, hunt for art treasures, and more. Located in Museum Courtyard. Cost: Free.

– Gourmet picnic lunches are available for purchase on the Plaza Level near the Restaurant. Order online or call (310) 440-6213.

– Dining options include the self-service Cafe (Restaurant/Cafe building) which has indoor and outdoor dining areas and the Getty Restaurant (Restaurant/Cafe building) which offers full service in an elegant setting with views of the Santa Monica Mountains. Reservations are recommended for the Restaurant.