The Getty Center has a very impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and photos, but what makes it truly unique is the architecture. It sits like a castle on top of a hill, overlooking LA, and is build with Travertine stone, glass, and steel. The garden is truly extraordinary – it is itself a piece of art, surrounded by the museum buildings. It was opened in 1997, and it cost 1.3 billion dollars to build. Designed by architect Richard Meier, the Center also houses the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, and the J. Paul Getty Trust. The Getti Foundation has actually two museums in Los Angeles. The original museum is housed in a mediterranean-style villa overlooking the ocean, and it also has an extraordinary garden.
The Getty Trust is the world’s wealthiest art institution with an estimated endowment of 6.4 billion US Dollars in 2014. It was established in 1953 by Paul Getty, who made his money in the oil business.
I visited it on a rare rainy day in February 2015, so the garden was in a winter mode. It is basically a big sculpture in the form of a garden. It was designed by Robert Irwin and has over 500 types of plants.
The museum has collections of art and paintings mostly from the European tradition. There were disputes with Italy and Greece over the ownership of some of the artifacts, and one of the curators had to resign as a result of legal battles. A better overview of the paintings can be found here.
If you ever visit LA, I highly recommend to go to one of the Getty museums. You need advance tickets for the Villa during the summer months due to the high number of visitors. The Center has about 1.5 million visitors per year.