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The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1687
Phone: +1 (310) 440-7330
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E-mail: (for general Museum inquiries) gettymuseum@getty.edu
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Painted Prophecy: The Hebrew Bible through Christian Eyes
March 10–May 31, 2020

Images drawn from the Hebrew Bible (known to Christians as the "Old Testament") were among the most popular subjects for Christian illuminated manuscripts in the Middle Ages. This exhibition brings manuscripts that explore the medieval Christian understanding of Hebrew scripture into dialogue with the Rothschild Pentateuch, a masterpiece of the Jewish manuscript tradition. Together, these objects from different religious traditions demonstrate how the Hebrew Bible was a living document, its contents subject to interpretation dependent on time and place.

Michelangelo: Mind of the Master
February 25 through June 7, 2020

Michelangelo: Mind of the Master brings a collection of rare Michelangelo drawings of the highest quality to Los Angeles from February 25 through June 7, 2020, offering visitors the opportunity to see first-hand the genesis of some of the master's most iconic works.

Michelangelo (1475-1564) is widely acknowledged as one of the most creative and influential artists in the history of western art. Indeed, his most famous works—from the marble David in Florence to the fresco paintings in the Sistine Chapel and the monumental dome of Saint Peter's in Rome—have come do define the Italian Renaissance. Moreover, Michelangelo was a brilliant draftsman, making the up-close study of his drawings an unparalleled experience.

"Every one of Michelangelo's iconic creations began with a drawing," said Timothy Potts, director of the Getty Museum. "It is through his masterful drawings that we can witness his creative process at its most spontaneous and expressive. This exhibition presents works from the unrivaled collection of the Teylers Museum in the Netherlands that have never before been exhibited as a group in the United States. This exhibition is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that cannot fail to make a lasting impression on all who see it."

Organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Getty Museum in conjunction with the Teylers Museum, Haarlem, the Netherlands, Michelangelo: Mind of the Master brings an important selection of more than 28 exquisite Michelangelo drawings of the highest quality, many of which have never before been shown outside of Europe. Most of the sheets have sketches on both sides of the paper, and will be exhibited on freestanding pedestals so visitors can witness Michelangelo's use of the entire sheet.

Given that Michelangelo burned large quantities of his drawings, the exhibition provides an unusual opportunity to experience firsthand a key group of surviving sketches, most of which were once in the collection of Queen Christina of Sweden (1626-1689), a fascinating and unconventional art-loving monarch who abdicated the throne and moved to Rome, where she built a famously important art collection.

"Drawing was a key aspect of Michelangelo's creativity, and arguably no artist has used it more effectively in the expression of the human form," said Julian Brooks, curator of drawings at Getty Museum. "From preparatory drawings and compositional sketches to detailed figure studies, the drawings in Mind of the Master are a revelation, offering incomparable insight into the fertile imagination and hard work of a titan among Renaissance artists."

The exhibition explores the range of Michelangelo's work as a painter, sculptor, and architect through his works on paper, including designs for celebrated projects such as the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the Last Judgement, the Medici Chapel tombs, and the cupola of Saint Peter's basilica, Rome.

For Michelangelo, drawing was a fundamental, lifelong activity. When he was a student, it helped him learn from other artists' work; thereafter drawing was a tool he used to capture reality and the conceptions of his imagination. Consistently dedicated to drawing the human figure from life, a growing practice in Florentine artists' studios at the time, Michelangelo took this to a new level of verisimilitude through keen observation, as well as by studying dissected corpses to better understand the underlying muscles.

Early in his career, Michelangelo drew mainly in pen and ink, but he soon came to appreciate the convenience and effectiveness of naturally mined chalk. He used both red and black colors, preferring the latter as time went on.

Today, as through history, Michelangelo's drawings are valued not only as works exhibiting extraordinary skill but also as windows into the mind of the master —an intimate way to explore the creation of some of the greatest works of Renaissance art.

The Teylers Museum opened its doors in 1784 and is known as the oldest museum in the Netherlands, with a collection that is unique in the world. The collection of Michelangelo drawings has been in the museum since 1791 and this is the first time they have left the Teylers Museum as a group.

The Cleveland Museum of Art has published an accompanying catalog with contributions from leading art historians including Emily Peters, Julian Brooks, and Carel van Tuyll van Serooskerken. At Getty, the exhibition is curated by Julian Brooks, senior curator of drawings with Edina Adam, assistant curator of drawings.

The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Major support comes from Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder. It is generously supported by an anonymous gift in memory of Melvin R. Seiden. The exhibition is sponsored by City National Bank.

Artists on the Move: Journeys and Drawings
February 11–May 3, 2020

Why did artists leave their homes? How did they use the medium of drawing to record their journeys, and how did mobility impact their draftsmanship? This exhibition, featuring works by Canaletto, Gauguin, Rubens, and Van Gogh, among others, explores such journeys through a selection of European drawings from the Museum’s permanent collection, spanning from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries.

In Focus: Platinum Photographs
January 21–May 31, 2020

Revered for its velvety matte surface and neutral palette, the platinum process, introduced in 1873, helped establish photography as a fine art. The process was championed by prominent photographers until platinum was embargoed during World War I, but it attracted renewed interest during the mid-twentieth century from a relatively small but dedicated community of practitioners. This exhibition draws from the Getty Museum’s collection to showcase some of the most striking prints made with platinum and the closely related palladium processes.

Unseen: 35 Years of Collecting Photographs
December 17, 2019–March 8, 2020

Commemorating the 35th anniversary of the Museum’s collection of photographs, this exhibition reveals the breadth and depth of the Getty’s acquisitions through an array of its hidden treasures, none of which have been exhibited at the Getty before. Spanning the history of the medium from its early years to the present day, Unseen highlights visual associations between photographs from different times and places to encourage fresh discoveries and underscore a sense of continuity and change within the history of the medium.

Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics
December 3, 2019 - March 29, 2020
Research Institute Galleries I and II

Free | No ticket required

Käthe Kollwitz, one of the foremost graphic artists of the 20th century, is celebrated for her affecting portrayals of the hardships of war, poverty, and injustice and for her technical virtuosity. A selection of works on paper from the Dr. Richard A. Simms Collection at the Getty Research Institute—including rare preparatory drawings, working proofs, and trial prints—sheds light on Kollwitz's creative process and reveals the depth of her social and political engagement.

Peasants in Pastel: Millet and the Pastel Revival
October 29, 2019–May 10, 2020

Long associated with aristocratic portraiture, pastel had fallen out of fashion by the mid-nineteenth century, when Jean-François Millet turned the powdery medium to a quite different purpose: scenes of contemporary peasant life. This installation presents a selection of pastels by Millet and his followers, addressing the relationship between rural labor and urban collecting and encouraging visitors to consider how an artist’s chosen medium affects our understanding of his or her subject matter.

Flight of Fancy: The Galle Chandelier
April 9, 2019 - April 19, 2020

The extraordinary Galle Chandelier, 1818-1819, has long stood out as a highlight of the J. Paul Getty Museum’s decorative arts collection. Flight of Fancy: The Galle Chandelier is a special, year-long display of the chandelier that allows visitors to see one of the Getty’s most beloved objects in a new light.

Resembling a hot-air balloon, the chandelier is a work of extreme novelty that includes a glass bowl intended to hold water and small goldfish and eighteen candles whose flames would illuminate a room after dark. It was made by a French bronze caster and gilder Gérard Jean Galle (1788-1846) in 1818-1819. While the balloon-like form is entirely modern for the era, various aspects of the design evoke the ancient concept of the four.

Acquired by J. Paul Getty in 1973, the Chandelier has been on permanent display at the Getty Center since it opened in 1997. After being de-installed early this year for conservation, photography, and study, the new exhibition encourages close viewing of the chandelier and explores the inspiration, sources, and themes of its imaginative design. The chandelier is displayed at eye-level, allowing visitors to examine it’s rich detail more closely. Also on view are prints from the collection of the Getty Research Institute that illustrate sources of inspiration for the artist. Didactic panels and close-up photographs illustrate the chandelier’s details. An accompanying interactive video will allow visitors to see what the chandelier would look like lit.

Gérard Jean Galle described how the continuous movement of fish in the water would amuse the viewer. This idea reflected a design theory of the early 1800s that suggested objects should be not only functional but also gratifying to the eye and the imagination. Representing the heavens, the blue globe at the center of the chandelier has gilt stars and is encircled by a gilt-bronze band bearing the twelve symbols of the zodiac.

Gérard Jean Galle (French, 1788–1846) was a bronze caster and gilder who designed and made luxury items in gilt bronze such as clock cases, candelabra, chandeliers, and vases. He exhibited a number of pieces at the Paris Exhibition of French Products of Industry in 1819. He then wrote to the government of King Louis XVIII, offering the works for sale and providing detailed descriptions of each. These included a chandelier of the same design as that at the Getty:

Fish chandelier: In the middle of a blue enameled globe scattered with stars is a circle with the signs of the zodiac and six griffins carrying candles … [below is a glass bowl fitted with] a plug intended for the removal of the water which one places in the bowl with small goldfish whose continuous movement will give agreeable recreation to the eye.

Galle was not successful in his appeal to sell the chandelier to Louis XVIII and struggled financially throughout his career. Nevertheless, he continued producing high-quality objects in gilt bronze and was awarded a gold medal at the Paris Exhibition of 1823.

Flight of Fancy was curated by Jeffrey Weaver, associate curator for sculpture and decorative arts at the Getty Museum.

Spring in the Alps, 1897 By Giovanni Segantini
February 12, 2019 - TBD

The J. Paul Getty Museum announced the acquisition of Spring in the Alps, 1897, by Giovanni Segantini (Italian, 1858-1899). Originally painted for Jacob Stern, a San Francisco collector and director of Levi Strauss & Co, the painting has a long connection to California. It was on continuous loan to Legion of Honor in San Francisco from 1928 until it was sold by Stern’s descendants in 1999.

“Giovanni Segantini was at the peak of his career when he created this luminous panoramic scene,” said Timothy Potts, director of the Getty Museum. “Featuring his characteristic thick brushstrokes and brilliant color palette—which includes flecks of gold leaf—the painting is among the most extraordinary and captivating landscapes produced in Europe at the end of the 19th century. It will resonate powerfully alongside our great Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works from France and paintings by northern European artists of the era. Significantly, with this acquisition, Spring in the Alps finds a permanent public home in California, its original destination, and we hope museum-goers from San Francisco, where it was on view for more than 70 years, will visit the painting at the Getty when they are in Los Angeles.”

At more than four by seven feet, Spring in the Alps is a monumental, sweeping depiction of an alpine landscape near the village of Soglio in Switzerland, with its recognizable church tower visible on the right side of the picture. The view is of an expansive plateau and valley ringed by glaciers and majestic snow-capped mountains. In the middle of the composition a farm woman dressed in a blue and red peasant costume characteristic of eastern Switzerland leads two large horses past a watering trough. They are coming from a freshly plowed field where a sower scatters seeds and a black and white dog stands guard. The scene is sunny and colorful, emphasizing a glorious vista with a brilliant blue sky and ribbons of clouds.

Segantini painted the sizeable canvas in the open air, with additional work completed in the studio. He took liberties with the topography to suit his composition, adjusting the relative scale of the mountains, the perspective of the valley, and the position of the town. He created the vibrant color scheme and brilliant effects of light following the principles of Divisionism, the practice of juxtaposing pure local colors in the belief that the hues mix optically in the eye of the viewer, creating especially luminous effects. This pseudo-scientific movement in painting was first launched in France in the 1880s by George Seurat and Paul Signac, where it was dubbed “Neo-Impressionism.” The movement was subsequently adopted by Italian painters, with Segantini becoming a principal exponent. In contrast to Seurat’s pointillist brushstrokes, Segantini employed long, thin strokes of contrasting color. The rich impasto and the tactile, almost woven, quality of the painted surface, marvelously capture the crisp transparency of the atmosphere, the harshness of the rocks, the thickness of the grass, and the roughness of the skin of the animals.

Spring in the Alps is a joyous hymn to the cycle of life and the reawakening of nature in spring after a long, hard winter,” said Davide Gasparotto, senior curator of paintings at the Getty. “It is an extraordinarily accomplished work where symbolism and naturalism are inextricably intertwined. Segantini himself counted it among his absolute masterpieces. Panoramic in scale and astonishingly luminous, Spring in the Alps is one of the greatest paintings of the Italian Ottocento in America, an iconic work that expands our ability to tell the story of 19th-century European painting.”

Spring in the Alps was commissioned by the American painter Toby E. Rosenthal (1848-1917), who resided in Munich, for San Francisco businessman and collector Jacob Stern (1851-1927), whose father, David Stern, co-founded Levi Strauss & Co. Segantini exhibited the picture at the 7th Munich Secession in 1897 and then took the painting back to his studio in Switzerland where he made further adjustments. In early 1899 the picture was sent to San Francisco to be the centerpiece of Stern’s collection. It was so well known even then, that the painting’s rescue from the 1906 earthquake and fire was reported in the national press. Upon Stern’s death in 1927, and in accordance with his wishes, Spring in the Alps was loaned by his heirs to the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. There it stayed on public view for more than 70 years. In 1999 the estate of Stern’s heir sold the picture at auction in New York.

Born in Arco (Trento) in 1858, Giovanni Segantini counts among the most important Italian artists of his generation. He was internationally famous for his dreamy Alpine landscapes, which combine elements of Jean-François Millet’s reverent naturalism with Georges Seurat’s dappled Divisionist technique and the allegorical subjectivity of the work of contemporary Symbolists, from Gustav Klimt to Paul Gauguin. Segantini's work represents the transition from traditional nineteenth-century art to the changing styles and interests of the twentieth century.

Orphaned as a boy, Segantini was apprenticed to a photographer in Milan, where in 1873 he began attending night classes at the Brera’s Academy of Fine Arts. In the early 1880s, on the advice of the painter-dealer Vittore Grubicy de Dragon, he experimented with plein-air painting during an extended visit to the Brianza region. Marketed by Grubicy, with whom Segantini signed an exclusive contract in 1883, the resulting landscapes attracted international attention and quickly made their author’s fortune. Segantini settled in the picturesque Swiss valley of the Engadine, where he painted views of the surrounding mountains for the rest of his career, often carting his enormous canvases out into the elements to work directly from nature. Despite his somewhat remote location, Segantini kept abreast of the contemporary art scene, maintaining a lively correspondence with Gustav Klimt, Max Liebermann, and others, while his work was exhibited in London, Amsterdam, Paris, and Munich.

In 1897, Segantini was commissioned by a group of local hotels to build a huge panorama of the Engadin valley to be shown in a specially built round hall at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Before it was completed, however, the project had to be scaled down for financial reasons. Segantini redesigned the concept into a large triptych known as Life, Nature, and Death (Museo Segantini, St. Moritz), which is now his most famous work. Eager to finish the third part of his large triptych, Nature, Segantini returned in 1899 to the mountains near Schafberg. The pace of his work, coupled with the high altitude, affected his health, and in mid-September he became ill with acute peritonitis. Two weeks later he died at the age of 41. Two years later the largest Segantini retrospective to date took place in Vienna. In 1908, the Museo Segantini was established in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Spring in the Alps joins another important work by Segantini in the Getty Museum’s collection, Study for “La Vita” (1897), a large pastel that parallels the painting’s composition and is dedicated to his friend Toby Rosenthal, who facilitated the commission of Spring in the Alps from Jacob Stern. In excellent condition, Spring in the Alps comes to the Getty in the elaborate frame that the artist originally designed for it. It will be put on exhibition in the Museum’s West Pavilion on February 12th, alongside other works of art from 19th century Europe.

Interior with an Easel, Bredgade 25, painted in 1912 by Vilhelm Hammershøi (Danish, 1864-1916)
December 18, 2018 - TBD

The J. Paul Getty Museum has acquired Interior with an Easel, Bredgade 25, painted in 1912 by Vilhelm Hammershøi (Danish, 1864-1916). The painting will go on view at the Getty Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, December 18, 2018.

“Interior with an Easel, Bredgade 25 is a characteristically luminous and enigmatic image that encapsulates Hammershøi’s particular visual poetry,” said Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Hammershøi’s carefully orchestrated compositions are defined by their sparse atmospheric mood, using a few familiar pieces of furniture and the fall of light through a window to create some of the most beautiful, contemplative interiors in the history of painting. This work is especially important for its play on the art of painting itself: it is a painting about paintings—one seen from the back on the easel, the other hanging on the wall. All that is missing, as so often in Hammershøi’s work, is the human protagonist—in this case the artist himself. There could be no more appropriate subject for the Getty Museum, or any museum, and we are delighted to be able to add this extraordinary work by one of the most important Scandinavian artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries to our collection. Hammershøi clearly saw himself in the tradition of old master painters (he is often touted as ‘the modern Vermeer’), and I am sure visitors will see many resonances with our paintings by other great northern European artists, such as Caspar David Friedrich, Fernand Khnopff, and Edvard Munch.”

Hammershøi began depicting interiors in the late 1890s, and these austere and meditative paintings came to define his artistic reputation, already well established by the time he made Interior with an Easel, Bredgade 25. With single-minded focus, these interiors represent the apartments in Copenhagen that Hammershøi shared with his wife Ida and that served as his de facto studio (Bredgade 25 was the address of his final apartment). Sometimes his work features his wife quietly absorbed in some domestic task, but frequently there is no human presence—the primary subject being the play of light in the sparsely furnished architectural space. Here the only props, besides the artist’s easel, are a framed painting hung high on the wall, to protect it from direct sunlight, and a small table in the far room, framed perfectly by the half-open doorway.

Well-known and highly regarded in his own lifetime, Hammershøi’s career was cut short by his death from cancer at the age of 51. His work fell into relative obscurity and for much of the 20th century he was scarcely known outside of Denmark. Over the last few decades, however, there has been a resurgence of interest in Hammershøi’s work internationally, as numerous exhibitions in Europe, Asia, and the United States have attested. His compositions’ rigorous geometry, sober palette, and lack of sentimental anecdote appeal greatly to modern sensibilities, while the domestic settings, refined painterly handling, and sophisticated light effects call to mind the European old master tradition, and particularly Dutch seventeenth-century painting. Tellingly, both Whistler’s and Vermeer’s names have been invoked in connection with Hammershøi’s art.

“Interior with an Easel, Bredgade 25 is a work of great power and stark beauty, mesmerizing in its sense of stillness and silence. All the elements of a great Hammershøi are here: the masterful rendering of the cool Nordic light, the exquisitely nuanced tonal harmonies, the geometric rigor of the planar composition, the shimmering weave of small, textured brushstrokes – all working to transfigure the mundane into something haunting and poetic,” said Davide Gasparotto, senior curator of paintings at the Getty Museum. “Hammershøi is one of Denmark’s most fascinating painters and the renewed interest and scholarship that his work is now receiving is well overdue.”

Interior with an Easel, Bredgade 25 is 31 x 27 5/18 inches and in excellent, practically untouched condition. Never exhibited in public before its emergence on the market in 2018, it will go on display in the Getty Museum’s West Pavilion galleries on December 18, 2018.

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