Correspondence, reports from the architects and builders, legal and financial documents, blueprints and models, photos, printed
matter and oral histories, dating 1960, 1964, 1968-1986, undated (bulk 1971-1974) concern the design and construction of the
J. Paul Getty Museum (Villa).
After considering various options for expanding his ranch house in Malibu California which had served as a private museum
since 1954, J. Paul Getty decided in the fall of 1968 to build a new museum on the same property, in the form of a first-century
Roman country house, based primarily on the plans of the ancient Villa dei Papiri just outside of Herculaneum. The archaeologist
Norman Neuerburg, who had studied the ruins of Herculaneum and was an authority on Roman domestic architecture, was retained
as a consultant for the project. The Santa Monica firm Langdon & Wilson was hired as architect, and Stephen Garrett, who had
served as Getty's consultant in the remodeling of a Getty home in Posillipo, Italy, was retained as overseer of the construction.
Landscape architect Emmet Wemple designed the gardens, Garth Benton worked on the murals, and Bruce Ptolomy worked on the
fountains. The construction itself was done by Dinwiddie Construction Co., with various subcontractors. Construction began
on December 21, 1970, and the new museum opened to the public on January 16, 1974. Despite the enthusiastic public response,
mixed critical response questioned the decision to recreate an ancient building.
39.9 linear feet
(30 boxes, 5 oversize boxes, 3 photo albums, 6 flat file drawers)
Rights and Reproductions at the Getty Research Institute for copyright information and permission to publish.
The records described in accessions 1986.IA.19, 1986.IA.36, 1987.IA.02, 1987.IA.03, 1987.IA.24, and 2009.IA.28 are available
for use by qualified researchers.