The Getty Villa

The Getty VillaThe Getty VillaThe Getty VillaThe Getty Villa

According to Forbes’s most recent tally of the 1%, the richest Americans have found their successes in technology.  As Warren Buffet and the Walton family might comment, it doesn’t hurt to own an insurance company or a discount superstore either.  But, this was not always the case.

Between the Gettys, the Rockefellers, and the Hunts, oil used to be the golden ticket.  In 1957, J. Paul Getty was named the richest man in America with over $1 billion.  This title, or rather a minor controversy between Fortune and the New York Magazine over this title, inspired the following quote from the billionaire himself: “If you can count your money, you don’t have a billion dollars.”

Getty might not have been able to count his money, but he could count his Italian masterpieces.  He felt his Pacific Palisades ranch house, purchased in 1945 along with 64 acres of oceanfront property, was unequipped to display such fine antiquities. As a zoo might recreate a rainforest for their orangutans, Mr. Getty recreated a Pompeian villa to house his Italian art collection.  The property is now home to the ranch house, the Villa, the 44,000 piece collection as well as a 20,000 volume research library and the UCLA/Getty Master’s Program on the Conservation of Ethnographic and Archaeological Materials.

To those of us who know nothing of ancient Roman art and architecture, the Villa acts as one of the many portals planted in Los Angeles where the line between fantasy and reality is blurred.  For more information about this portal, check here:


Posted on March 17, 2012, in Pacific Palisades and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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