The Getty Architecture page contains 43 images of travertine exteriors, the interior of the
Main Entrance Rotunda, the Central Courtyard, and the Floating Azalea Maze in the Garden.
It also includes Maillol's Air sculpture on the Grand Staircase and two of the exterior fountains.

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Getty Museum 3622

The travertine plaque announcing your arrival at the Entrance Rotunda of the Getty Center.
1.2 million square feet of beige, cleft-cut, fossilized travertine are used throughout the complex.


Arrival Plaza Getty Center HS8856


Grand Stairway Getty Center HS8859

At left, one of two three-car computer-operated trams which carry visitors up to the arrival plaza.
At right, the Courtyard and the Grand Stairway leading up to the main entrance of the Getty Center.
The complex is covered with 16,000 tons of travertine, quarried in Bagni di Tivoli, just east of Rome.
Travertine panels cover the retaining walls, the bases of buildings, and serve as paving stones for
the arrival plaza and museum courtyard. Split along its natural grain using a guillotine process
developed by the architectural staff and the quarry, some panels contain fossilized objects.


Air Maillol Getty Center HS8860

Air, Aristide Maillol, French, 1938, cast in 1962, lead.

In 1938, the city of Toulouse in southern France commissioned Aristide Maillol to commemorate the pilots of the pioneering airmail service, l'Aéropostale, who had been killed in the line of duty. Air was cast from the plaster model for this monument. Its form was initially inspired by a small terra cotta sculpture Maillol had made several decades earlier depicting a reclining figure resting on wind-blown drapery. The artist often used the female form to symbolize aspects of nature like the sea, the seasons, and even a subject as elusive as air.


Air Maillol Getty Center HS8861

Dina Vierny (1919-2009) served as the model for the sculpture, although the face and figure are idealized.

Dina was studying at the lycée in Paris when she was recommended as a model to the Aristide Maillol in 1934. Maillol was known for monumental sculptures depicting voluptuous women of a specific type, the type that the then fifteen-year old Dina embodied. She would be his muse for the last ten years of his life, inspiring the old sculptor to unexpected masterpieces. Dina Vierny would grow into a key figure in the French art world, befriending (and posing for) important artists like Matisse, Bonnard and artists from the Surrealistic movement.

During WWII, Vierny risked her life by guiding refugees over the Pyrenees from occupied France to Spain. As soon as he discovered these activities, Maillol, a native resident of Banyuls, a small fishing village near the Spanish border, decided to help her by showing her all of the goat paths and smuggler routes needed to cross the mountains unnoticed. Soon his workshop in the hills of Banyuls became the starting point of the route. Dina Vierny got arrested twice, by the French police and by the Gestapo. Maillol saved her both times, the second time through the intercession of his friend Arno Breker, who was a Nazi and known as ‘Hitler's favorite sculptor.’

After the war, Dina Vierny carried out two important projects in Paris with the intent to immortalize Maillol’s name. In 1965, she persuaded the Minister of Culture to take 18 Maillol masterpieces for permanent display in the Tuileries (fulfilling Maillol’s dying wish), and later, she founded a Maillol museum in Paris. She died there in 2009, above the exposition rooms, aged 89.


Grand Stairway Getty Center 1615

The Grand Stairway leading up to the Main Entrance and the Rotunda.
The curvilinear exteriors are clad with off-white enameled aluminum panels.
Between the Grand Stairway and the travertine wall is a stepped watercourse,
a small bridge leads from the upper landing to an opening in the travertine wall.


Main Entrance Rotunda Getty Center 3624


Main Entrance Rotunda Getty Center 3626

The Rotunda at the Main Entrance. Like many areas in the museum, large sections of the walls are covered
with glass to allow for natural lighting. In galleries, a computer-assisted system of louvers and shades allow
the amount of natural light to be varied, mixing with artificial light. Filters prevent sun damage to paintings.


Main Entrance Rotunda Getty Center 3630

The Rotunda looking towards the North Pavilion, with the path leading to the paintings on the second floor.


Main Entrance Rotunda Getty Center 3633


Main Entrance Rotunda Getty Center HS9720

The Rotunda houses an information desk, the museum store, and the pathway to the second floor.
These two images were taken at different times, with the Rotunda painted off-white and a soft salmon.


Main Entrance Rotunda Getty Center HS9719

The Rotunda’s path to the second floor, leading to the paintings in the North Pavilion, taken at night.


Rotunda Long Pool Getty Center 1619

The Rotunda exits through two sliding walls onto a terrace which connects the five public two-story pavilions. At left is the Exhibitions Pavilion, the temporary residence for traveling art collection exhibits and for Getty artwork for which the permanent pavilions have no space. On the right is the North Pavilion, which houses the oldest art (the West Pavilion houses the newest art. The art is displayed chronologically, counter-clockwise around the pavilions). First floor galleries hold the light-sensitive art, such as illuminated manuscripts, furniture and photography. In the center of the terrace is the Long Pool with its arching jets.


North Pavilion Getty Center 2422

The North Pavilion exterior terrace, reflecting the warm light of the late afternoon.
The second floors are all connected by glass-enclosed bridges and open terraces.


Long Pool Arching Jets Getty Center 2102


Long Pool Arching Jets Getty Center HS9125

Above are two low-angle views of the arching jets in the Long Pool, taken from either end of the pool.


Long Pool Arching Jets Getty Center 3845

The obligatory extreme low angle shot below the arching jets. You know I had to do it...


Central Fountain Getty Center HS9102


Central Fountain Getty Center HS9119

The Central Fountain in the museum courtyard, surrounded by a shallow pool flush with the paving.


Central Fountain Getty Center HS9112

The Central Fountain stones from Northern California, shaded in the late afternoon, taken from the west side.


Open Air Pool Getty Center HS4582

The Open Air Pool in a recessed alcove in the East Pavilion, with fountains jetting up between rocks.
The inset feature stone contains fossilized leaves and branches which indicate a rain forest environment.


Open Air Pool Getty Center 3858


Open Air Pool Getty Center 3975

The fountains and rocks in the travertine-lined Open Air Pool, taken at mid-day and mid-afternoon.


Open Air Pool Getty Center 3972

Fountains jet up between Northern California rocks in the travertine-lined Open Air Pool in the East Pavilion.


Outdoor Cafe Getty Center HS8863

Outdoor Cafe under the Exhibition Pavilion and Central Garden lawn, leading to the central garden at right.


Central Garden Plaza Bougainvillea Getty Center 1766

The view towards the Exhibition Pavilion from the Garden Plaza past the three Bougainvillea arbors.


Getty Center from Garden HS8871


Getty Center from Garden HS8873

At left, the Exhibition Pavilion from the Garden, at right the South Pavilion is framed by flowering Myrtle.


Floating Azalea Maze Getty Center HS8876

The floating Azalea maze in the Central Garden, surrounded by specialty gardens, all designed by Robert Irwin.


Floating Azalea Maze Getty Center HS8879


Floating Azalea Maze Waterfall HS8886

The floating maze of Azaleas in the Central Garden pool, and the stone waterfall or chadar which feeds it.


Floating Azalea Maze Getty Center HS8884

The floating Azalea maze, specialty gardens, and Myrtle trees in the Central Garden at Getty Center.


Floating Azalea Maze Getty Center 1768


Floating Azalea Maze Getty Center 1770

The floating Azalea maze blooming in December, and the stone waterfall (chadar) feeding the pool in the Central Garden.


West Pavilion Getty Center HS9690


West Pavilion Getty Center HS9706

At left, the Central Fountain in the Courtyard and the bridge leading from the South to West Pavilions.
At right, the Fountain and the West Pavilion. Both flush and raised benches surround the shallow pool
around the fountain (the raised benches were added after the museum opened to avoid wet visitors).


Long Pool Arching Jets Getty Center HS9709

Montezuma Cypress Trees in front of the Exhibition Pavilion stand above ripples of square travertine pavers, beside
 the Long Pool with its arching jets, looking toward the bridge between the South and West Pavilions from the Rotunda.


Long Pool Entrance Rotunda Getty Center HS9699

A shot towards the Rotunda from the central Courtyard, with the rare Montezuma Cypress and the Long Pool.


J. Paul Getty Vangelli 1836


J. Paul Getty Vangelli 1837

Bust of J. Paul Getty, Pier Gabriele Vangelli, Italian, Rome, 1939, marble.

Oil tycoon, collector, and philanthropist, J. Paul Getty sat for this marble bust in 1939 while in Rome. Getty was a great admirer of ancient art and deliberately chose the ancient format of a bust for this portrait. The use of marble also evokes the art of antiquity. At the time that he commissioned this portrait, Getty was avidly purchasing ancient Greek and Roman sculpture for his growing collection. The bust stands in the Entrance Rotunda.


J. Paul Getty Vangelli HS5068


J. Paul Getty Vangelli HS5071

The sculptor, Pier Gabriele Vangelli, worked in a Neoclassical style. In the 1930s, when Modern art was becoming increasingly respected in the United States and Europe, Getty's choice of a Neoclassical style was intentionally conservative and academic. The simplicity of shapes; the ovoid head and perfectly symmetrically eyes; and the angular lines of Getty's suit, dress shirt, and tie project an emotionally detached coolness. Although Getty faces directly outward, his eyes are uncarved and blank, creating a startling sense of remove between him and viewer.


Air Maillol Getty Center HS9730

A mood shot of Aristide Maillol’s 1938 sculpture Air, deeply shadowed on the Grand Stairway at night.


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