Getty, J. Paul (Jean Paul), 1892-1976

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1892-12-15
Death 1976-06-06
US
English

Biographical notes:

American oil tycoon and art collector Jean Paul Getty was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on December 15, 1892 to George Franklin Getty (1855-1930) and Sarah Catherine McPherson Risher Getty. Around 1906 the Getty family moved to Los Angeles. J. Paul Getty eventually persuaded his father to shift the focus of the family petroleum business to the Los Angeles basin. Beginning in the early 1930s Getty lived in a house he built next to William Randolph Hearst's on the beach in Santa Monica. During World War II he moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma for four years to supervise wartime production of parts for Allied aircraft at his Spartan Aircraft plant. In 1946 he purchased 64 acres in Pacific Palisades, California and renovated the existing hacienda, known as the Ranch House, where he lived until 1951. When Getty departed the United States for Europe in 1951, he kept his Pacific Palisades estate for the display of his art collection and for the possibility of his eventual return. Getty had been collecting art since the 1930s and continued collecting throughout his lifetime. By 1968 his art collection had begun to outgrow the Ranch House and he began planning a new building on the property to properly house these works. He chose to pattern this new museum building after a first-century Roman country house, based primarily on the plans of the ancient Villa dei Papiri near Herculaneum. This museum, often called the Getty Villa, opened to the public on January 16, 1974. J. Paul Getty died in England on June 6, 1976 without ever returning to California. Although he never saw the museum, he is buried at the Getty Villa property, on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

From the description of Collected photographs and postcards of Los Angeles, California and vicinity, ca. 1857-1940. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 78776396

Oil executive.

From the description of Reminiscences of Jean Paul Getty : oral history, 1974. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 309742412

After spending a year in the oil fields of Oklahoma, J. Paul Getty returned to Los Angeles in 1915, where he encouraged his father, George, to shift the focus of the family business to the Los Angeles basin. Once established in Los Angeles, the Getty family businesses grew to include not just oil companies, but also real estate.

From the description of Assorted building plans, 1906, 1941-1967, undated. (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 85176437

American oil tycoon and art collector Jean Paul Getty was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on December 15, 1892 to George Franklin Getty (1855-1930) and Sarah Catherine McPherson Risher Getty (1852-1941). Around 1906 the Getty family moved to Los Angeles. In 1911, J. Paul went to Oxford to study economics and political science, completing his diploma around 1913.

In 1914 Getty joined the family petroleum business and within two years had earned his first million dollars. He continued to work for the family company in addition to conducting oil drilling of his own. His fortune grew as he acquired the controlling interest in several companies and became the head of a vast organization with activities in oil exploration, transportation, production and marketing, as well as minerals, manufacturing, real estate and agriculture. In the mid-1940s Getty bought the Saudi Arabian portion of the lease on the mineral rights in the Neutral Zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait; his wealth dramatically increased when this site produced oil in 1953.

During World War II Getty supervised wartime production of parts for Allied aircraft at his Spartan Aircraft plant in Oklahoma. In 1946 he purchased a ranch house near Malibu, California, where he lived until 1951 before moving to Europe. He had been traveling throughout Europe and collecting art since the 1930s. By 1968 his art collection had begun to outgrow the Getty Ranch House and he began planning a museum to house these works. This museum, often called the Getty Villa, opened to the public in 1974.

J. Paul Getty died in England on June 6, 1976 without ever returning to California. Although he never saw the museum, he is buried at the Getty Villa property, on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Getty left the bulk of his fortune to the museum with a mission to promote "the diffusion of artistic and general knowledge."

From the description of J. Paul Getty diaries, 1938-1946, 1948-1976. (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 694186673

American oil tycoon and art collector J. Paul Getty was born in Minneapolis in 1892 to George and Sarah Getty. He attended the University of Southern California; the University of California, Berkeley; and Oxford University. An investment in Oklahoma oil fields led to his earning his first million dollars in 1916. During the Depression, Getty acquired Tidewater Oil, Pacific Western Oil and Mission Corporation, and became the head of a vast organization active in oil exploration, transportation, production and marketing, as well as minerals, manufacturing, real estate and agriculture.

Getty began collecting art in the 1930s, and in 1954 he decided to turn his ranch house in Pacific Palisades, California into a museum for his growing art collection. By 1968 the collection had grown so much that plans were made to build a new museum on the same property. He decided to build the museum in the form of a first-century Roman country house, based primarily on the plans of the ancient Villa dei Papiri just outside Herculaneum.

After leaving the United States in 1951, Getty lived for many years in hotel suites in Europe, until in 1960 he moved to Sutton Place, a historic 72-room Tudor manor located 25 miles southwest of London. In 1957, Fortune magazine designated Getty as the world's wealthiest man. J. Paul Getty died on June 6, 1976 without ever seeing his own Museum.

From the description of Collected photographs of San Francisco 1888, 1890, 1905-1906 (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 85176599

J. Paul Getty was born in Minneapolis in 1892 to George F. and Sarah C. Getty. In 1914, Paul agreed to join the family business and spend a year in the oil fields of Oklahoma. An investment in 160 acres near Stone Bluff, Oklahoma, led to Paul's announcement two years later that he had earned his first million dollars. By the time of the stock market crash in 1929 the family fortune was secure. George Getty left controlling interest in the company to Sarah Getty, and Paul Getty spent much of the Depression buying depressed stocks in other oil companies, contrary to his mother's wishes. After WWII, Paul Getty bought the mineral rights to a jointly controlled Saudi Arabian/Kuwaiti plot of land between the two countries, known as the Neutral Zone. His crews, working under his son (George F. Getty II), found oil in the Neutral Zone in 1953, increasing his wealth. He eventually acquired Tidewater Oil, Pacific Western Oil and Mission Corporation, and became the head of a vast organization active in oil exploration, transportation, production and marketing, as well as minerals, manufacturing, real estate and agriculture.

Getty began collecting art in the 1930s, and in 1938 he made his first major purchases. Getty left California for good in 1951, leaving a Malibu estate, the Getty Ranch House, for the display of his art collection. After leaving the United States in 1951, Getty lived for many years in hotel suites in Europe, until in 1960 he moved to Sutton Place, near London. By 1968 his art collection had begun to outgrow the Ranch House and he began planning a new building on the property to properly house these works. This museum, often called the Getty Villa, opened to the public on January 16, 1974. J. Paul Getty died in England on June 6, 1976.

From the description of Art and Real Estate Holding Companies records, 1939-1982, undated, bulk 1960-1982. (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 85176346

American oil tycoon and art collector Jean Paul Getty ("Paul") was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on December 15, 1892 to George Franklin Getty (1855-1930) and Sarah Catherine McPherson Risher Getty (1852-1941). George was an attorney and insurance executive who purchased land in the "Indian Territory" of Oklahoma in 1903, establishing himself in the petroleum industry. Around 1906 the Getty family moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles, California.

Paul received a diploma in Politics and Economics from Oxford University around 1913 or 1914. He then enhanced his education by means of a Grand Tour of Europe, viewing art collections and ancient ruins that sparked his interest in art and antiquities. In 1914 Paul joined the family petroleum business. He began making investments of his own and within two years he was a billionaire. Upon his death in 1930 George left controlling interest in the family company to Sarah. In 1934 Paul forced Sarah out of control of the company. His fortune grew as he acquired the controlling interest in several companies and became the head of a vast organization with activities in oil exploration, production, transportation and marketing, as well as minerals, manufacturing, real estate and agriculture.

J. Paul Getty began collecting art in the 1930s and continued to collect art throughout his lifetime. By 1968 his art collection had begun to outgrow his ranch house in California and he began building a museum on the property to properly house these works. This museum, often called the Getty Villa, opened to the public in 1974. Getty died in England on June 6, 1976. He is buried at the Getty Villa property on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He left the bulk of his fortune to the museum, requesting that the funds be used to promote "the diffusion of artistic and general knowledge."

From the description of J. Paul Getty family collected papers, 1880s-1989, and undated, bulk 1911-1977. (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 85176248

Located just off the Pacific Coast Highway about a mile north of Sunset Boulevard, the 64-acre Malibu (Pacific Palisades, California) property that became the site for the original J. Paul Getty Museum was purchased by J. Paul Getty in 1945 from Claude I. Parker for the sum of $250,000. Getty made additions and major alterations to the Ranch House, including the addition of a second floor to the eastern portion, creating the house that stands on the property today.

The eastern end of the house functioned as the Getty Museum until 1974, when the Getty Villa opened as the primary repository for Getty's art collection. During the mid-1980s, portions of the Ranch House were altered to accommodate museum administration and conservation laboratories. The Ranch House was the subject of a 2001 Historic American Buildings Survey report.

From the description of Ranch House records, 1921, 1945-1960s, 1975-1976, 1980s, 1999-2007, undated. (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 85176613

Biographical Note

American oil tycoon and art collector Jean Paul Getty was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on December 15, 1892 to George Franklin Getty (1855-1930) and Sarah Catherine McPherson Risher Getty. Around 1906 the Getty family moved to Los Angeles. Jean Paul, called "Paul," attended a private military school before going on to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the University of California, Berkeley. In 1911, Paul went to Oxford to study economics and political science, completing his diploma in 1913. Afterwards he embarked on a year-long Grand Tour of Europe, which no doubt sparked his interest in art and antiquities.

In 1914 Paul joined the family oil business and spent a year in the oil fields of Oklahoma. An astute investment in 160 acres near Stone Bluff, Oklahoma led to Paul’s announcement two years later that he had earned his first million dollars. He returned to Los Angeles and took a break of more than a year before returning to the oil business. Paul then persuaded his father to shift the focus of the family business to the Los Angeles basin. Paul continued to work for the family company in addition to conducting oil drilling of his own, securing the family fortune by the time the stock market crashed in 1929. Upon his death in 1930 George left controlling interest in the company to Sarah. In 1934 Paul forced Sarah out of control of the company and gave her an annuity. His fortune grew as he acquired the controlling interest in several companies and became the head of a vast organization with activities in oil exploration, transportation, production and marketing, as well as minerals, manufacturing, real estate and agriculture. In the mid-1940s Getty bought the Saudi Arabian portion of the lease on the mineral rights in the Neutral Zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait; his wealth dramatically increased when this site produced oil in 1953.

Beginning in the early 1930s Getty lived in a house he built next to William Randolph Hearst’s on the beach in Santa Monica. During World War II he moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma for four years to supervise wartime production of parts for Allied aircraft at his Spartan Aircraft plant. In 1946 he purchased 64 acres in Malibu, California and renovated the existing hacienda, known as the Ranch House, where he lived until 1951. When Getty departed the United States for Europe in 1951, he kept his Malibu estate for the display of his art collection and for the possibility of his eventual return. Getty had been collecting art since the 1930s and continued collecting throughout his lifetime. By 1968 his art collection had begun to outgrow the Ranch House and he began planning a new building on the property to properly house these works. He chose to pattern this new museum building after a first-century Roman country house, based primarily on the plans of the ancient Villa dei Papiri near Herculaneum. This museum, often called the Villa, opened to the public on January 16, 1974.

After leaving the United States Getty lived in hotel suites in Europe until 1960 when he moved to Sutton Place, a historic 72-room Tudor manor located 25 miles southwest of London. In 1957 Fortune magazine designated Getty as the world’s wealthiest man, and he became the object of considerable public interest. For the rest of his life, both the respectable press and the tabloids reported on his perceived eccentricities and his private life, which included five marriages and divorces. J. Paul Getty died in England on June 6, 1976 without ever returning to California. Although he never saw the museum, he is buried at the Getty Villa property, on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Much to everyone's surprise Getty left the bulk of his fortune to the museum with a mission to promote “the diffusion of artistic and general knowledge."

Getty, J. Paul. The history of the oil business of George F. and J. Paul Getty from 1903 to 1939. Los Angeles (?), 1941. Getty, J. Paul. Europe in the eighteenth century. [Santa Monica, Calif.]: privately printed, 1949. Le Vane, Ethel, and J. Paul Getty. Collector's choice: the chronicle of an artistic odyssey through Europe. London: W.H. Allen, 1955. Getty, J. Paul. My life and fortunes. New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1963. Getty, J. Paul. The joys of collecting. New York: Hawthorn Books, 1965. Getty, J. Paul. How to be rich. Chicago: Playboy Press, 1965. Getty, J. Paul. The golden age. New York: Trident Press, 1968. Getty, J. Paul. How to be a successful executive. Chicago: Playboy Press, 1971. Getty, J. Paul. As I see it: the autobiography of J. Paul Getty. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice-Hall, 1976.

From the guide to the Collected photographs of San Francisco, 1888, 1890, 1905-1906, (The Getty Research Institute Institutional Records and Archives 1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100 Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688 (310) 440-7390 archives@getty.edu)

Biographical Note

American oil tycoon and art collector Jean Paul Getty was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on December 15, 1892 to George Franklin Getty (1855-1930) and Sarah Catherine McPherson Risher Getty. Around 1906 the Getty family moved to Los Angeles. Jean Paul, called "Paul," attended a private military school before going on to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the University of California, Berkeley. In 1911, Paul went to Oxford to study economics and political science, completing his diploma in 1913. Afterwards he embarked on a year-long Grand Tour of Europe, which no doubt sparked his interest in art and antiquities.

In 1914 Paul joined the family oil business and spent a year in the oil fields of Oklahoma. An astute investment in 160 acres near Stone Bluff, Oklahoma led to Paul's announcement two years later that he had earned his first million dollars. He returned to Los Angeles and took a break of more than a year before returning to the oil business. Paul then persuaded his father to shift the focus of the family business to the Los Angeles basin. Paul continued to work for the family company in addition to conducting oil drilling of his own, securing the family fortune by the time the stock market crashed in 1929. Upon his death in 1930 George left controlling interest in the company to Sarah. In 1934 Paul forced Sarah out of control of the company and gave her an annuity. His fortune grew as he acquired the controlling interest in several companies and became the head of a vast organization with activities in oil exploration, transportation, production and marketing, as well as minerals, manufacturing, real estate and agriculture. In the mid-1940s Getty bought the Saudi Arabian portion of the lease on the mineral rights in the Neutral Zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait; his wealth dramatically increased when this site produced oil in 1953.

Beginning in the early 1930s Getty lived in a house he built next to William Randolph Hearst's on the beach in Santa Monica. During World War II he moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma for four years to supervise wartime production of parts for Allied aircraft at his Spartan Aircraft plant. In 1946 he purchased 64 acres in Pacific Palisades, California and renovated the existing hacienda, known as the Ranch House, where he lived until 1951. When Getty departed the United States for Europe in 1951, he kept his Pacific Palisades estate for the display of his art collection and for the possibility of his eventual return. Getty had been collecting art since the 1930s and continued collecting throughout his lifetime. By 1968 his art collection had begun to outgrow the Ranch House and he began planning a new building on the property to properly house these works. He chose to pattern this new museum building after a first-century Roman country house, based primarily on the plans of the ancient Villa dei Papiri near Herculaneum. This museum, often called the Villa, opened to the public on January 16, 1974.

After leaving the United States Getty lived in hotel suites in Europe until 1960 when he moved to Sutton Place, a historic 72-room Tudor manor located 25 miles southwest of London. In 1957 Fortune magazine designated Getty as the world's wealthiest man, and he became the object of considerable public interest. For the rest of his life, both the respectable press and the tabloids reported on his perceived eccentricities and his private life, which included five marriages and divorces. J. Paul Getty died in England on June 6, 1976 without ever returning to California. Although he never saw the museum, he is buried at the Getty Villa property, on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Much to everyone's surprise Getty left the bulk of his fortune to the museum with a mission to promote "the diffusion of artistic and general knowledge."

Getty, J. Paul. The history of the oil business of George F. and J. Paul Getty from 1903 to 1939. Los Angeles (?), 1941. Getty, J. Paul. Europe in the eighteenth century. [Santa Monica, Calif.]: privately printed, 1949. Le Vane, Ethel, and J. Paul Getty. Collector's choice: the chronicle of an artistic odyssey through Europe. London: W.H. Allen, 1955. Getty, J. Paul. My life and fortunes. New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1963. Getty, J. Paul. The joys of collecting. New York: Hawthorn Books, 1965. Getty, J. Paul. How to be rich. Chicago: Playboy Press, 1965. Getty, J. Paul. The golden age. New York: Trident Press, 1968. Getty, J. Paul. How to be a successful executive. Chicago: Playboy Press, 1971. Getty, J. Paul. As I see it: the autobiography of J. Paul Getty. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice-Hall, 1976.

From the guide to the Collected photographs and postcards of Los Angeles, California and vicinity, circa 1857-1940, (The Getty Research Institute Institutional Records and Archives 1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100 Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688 (310) 440-7390 archives@getty.edu)

Administrative History

Located just off the Pacific Coast Highway about a mile north of Sunset Boulevard on 64-acres near Malibu, California, the Ranch House became the site for the original J. Paul Getty Museum. Purchased by J. Paul Getty in 1945 from Claude I. Parker for the sum of $250,000, the property was originally part of an early nineteenth century Spanish land grant. In the 1920s Parker, a Los Angeles attorney, purchased a portion of the property from Perfecto Marquez, a descendent of one of the area's original settlers. Parker constructed a house, the core of the extant Ranch House, and several outbuildings. Getty made additions and major alterations to the Ranch House, including the addition of a second floor to the eastern portion, creating the house that stands on the property today.

At the time Getty purchased the Malibu property, he already owned a house in Santa Monica, at 270 Ocean Front, and therefore only occupied the Ranch House on weekends. In 1946, Getty commissioned the Los Angeles architect John Byers to design additions to the Ranch House, primarily to house Getty's art collections, including a second floor at the eastern end, the Louis XV Room, the Hallway Gallery, the Louis XVI Room, the Small Antiquities Room, and the Courtyard. In 1953 Mr. Getty established the the J. Paul Getty Museum Trust and in 1954 opened the gallery spaces at the eastern end of the house to the public. In 1957, a new gallery wing along the west edge of the courtyard was added by the Los Angeles-based architectural firm Claud Beelman & Associates to house Getty’s expanding collection of antiquities. The eastern end of the house continued to function as the museum until 1974 (with about 6,000 square feet of exhibition space), when the Getty Villa was completed and opened as the primary repository for Mr. Getty’s art collection.

With the Getty Villa acting as the new museum quarters, portions of the Ranch House were altered to accommodate museum administration and conservation laboratories. Major modifications to the interior of the Ranch House, including the conversion of gallery spaces to conservation, laboratory and office spaces. The construction of new buildings in the courtyard area were carried out during the mid-1980s.

The Ranch House was the subject of a 2001 Historic American Buildings Survey report.

[Adapted from "Historic American Buildings Survey Documentation."]

From the guide to the Ranch House records, 1921, 1945-1960s, 1975-1976, 1980s, 1999-2007, undated, (The Getty Research Institute)

Biographical Note

American oil tycoon and art collector Jean Paul Getty was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on December 15, 1892 to George Franklin Getty (1855-1930) and Sarah Catherine McPherson Risher Getty (1852-1941). George was an attorney and insurance executive whose 1903 visit to Indian Territory (a region that became part of the State of Oklahoma in 1907) inspired him to purchase land and begin drilling, launching his career in the petroleum industry. Around 1906 the Getty family moved to Los Angeles, but George maintained his oil business in Oklahoma, traveling to the oil fields periodically. Jean Paul, called "Paul," attended a private military school before going on to college. He first attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and later went on to the University of California, Berkeley (1909 to 1911). In November of 1912 he began his studies at Magdalen College at Oxford University in England and received a diploma in Politics and Economics from Oxford in 1913 or 1914. He then enhanced his education by means of a Grand Tour of Europe, viewing art collections and ancient ruins that sparked his interest in art and antiquities. He also toured parts of the Middle East and North Africa before returning to the United States in September of 1914.

In 1914 Paul joined the family petroleum business and spent a year in the oil fields of Oklahoma. An astute investment in 160 acres near Stone Bluff, Oklahoma led to Paul's announcement two years later that he had earned his first million dollars. He then lived the carefree life of a rich young bachelor in Los Angeles for more than a year before his father convinced him to return to the oil business in Oklahoma. Soon thereafter Paul persuaded his father to shift the focus of the family business to the Los Angeles basin. Paul continued to work for the family company in addition to conducting oil drilling of his own, securing the family fortune by the time the stock market crashed in 1929. Upon his death in 1930 George left controlling interest in the company to Sarah. In 1934 Paul forced Sarah out of control of the company and gave her an annuity. His fortune grew as he acquired the controlling interest in several companies and became the head of a vast organization with activities in oil exploration, transportation, production and marketing, as well as minerals, manufacturing, real estate and agriculture. In the mid-1940s Paul bought the Saudi Arabian portion of the lease on the mineral rights in the Neutral Zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait; his wealth dramatically increased when this site produced oil in 1953.

Beginning in the early 1930s J. Paul Getty lived in a house he built next to William Randolph Hearst's on the beach in Santa Monica. During World War II he moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma for four years to supervise wartime production of parts for Allied aircraft at his Spartan Aircraft plant. In 1946 he purchased 64 acres in Malibu, California and renovated the existing hacienda, known as the Ranch House, where he lived until 1951. When Getty departed the United States for Europe in 1951, he kept his Malibu estate for the display of his art collection and for his eventual return to California. Getty had been collecting art since the 1930s. In 1938 he made his first major purchases: a group of furniture; a carpet that had belonged to Louis XIV, often called the "Ardabil Carpet"; and Rembrandt's Marten Looten (he donated the Ardabil Carpet and the Rembrandt to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1954). Another of his strong interests was antiquities, inspired by his travels throughout Europe and by visits to the Vatican Museums. He took pride in being knowledgeable in the areas in which he was collecting and in finding bargains. Getty continued to collect art throughout his lifetime, despite occasional assertions that he was no longer in the market. By 1968 his art collection had begun to outgrow the Ranch House and he began planning a new building on the property to properly house these works. He chose to pattern this new museum building after a first-century Roman country house, based primarily on the plans of the ancient Villa dei Papiri near Herculaneum. This museum, often called the Getty Villa, opened to the public on January 16, 1974.

After leaving the United States in 1951 Getty lived in hotel suites in Europe until 1960 when he moved to Sutton Place, a historic 72-room Tudor manor located 25 miles southwest of London. In 1957 Fortune magazine designated Getty as the world's wealthiest man, and he became the object of considerable public interest. For the rest of his life, both the respectable press and the tabloids reported on his perceived eccentricities and his private life, which included five marriages and divorces. J. Paul Getty died in England on June 6, 1976 without ever returning to California. Although he never saw the museum, he is buried at the Getty Villa property on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Much to everyone's surprise Getty left the bulk of his fortune to the museum, requesting that the funds be employed to promote "the diffusion of artistic and general knowledge."

Getty, J. Paul. The history of the oil business of George F. and J. Paul Getty from 1903 to 1939. Los Angeles (?), 1941. Getty, J. Paul. Europe in the eighteenth century. [Santa Monica, Calif.]: privately printed, 1949. Le Vane, Ethel, and J. Paul Getty. Collector's choice: the chronicle of an artistic odyssey through Europe. London: W.H. Allen, 1955. Getty, J. Paul. My life and fortunes. New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1963. Getty, J. Paul. The joys of collecting. New York: Hawthorn Books, 1965. Getty, J. Paul. How to be rich. Chicago: Playboy Press, 1965. Getty, J. Paul. The golden age. New York: Trident Press, 1968. Getty, J. Paul. How to be a successful executive. Chicago: Playboy Press, 1971. Getty, J. Paul. As I see it: the autobiography of J. Paul Getty. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice-Hall, 1976.

From the guide to the J. Paul Getty family collected papers, 1880s-1989, undated (bulk 1911-1977), (The Getty Research Institute Institutional Records and Archives 1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100 Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688 (310) 440-7390 archives@getty.edu)

Biographical Note

American oil tycoon and art collector Jean Paul Getty was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on December 15, 1892 to George Franklin Getty (1855-1930) and Sarah Catherine McPherson Risher Getty. Around 1906 the Getty family moved to Los Angeles. Jean Paul, called "Paul," attended a private military school before going on to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the University of California, Berkeley. In 1911, Paul went to Oxford to study economics and political science, completing his diploma in 1913. Afterwards he embarked on a year-long Grand Tour of Europe, which no doubt sparked his interest in art and antiquities.

In 1914 Paul joined the family petroleum business and spent a year in the oil fields of Oklahoma. An investment in 160 acres in Oklahoma led to Paul’s announcement two years later that he had earned his first million dollars. He returned to Los Angeles and took a break of more than a year before returning to the oil business. Paul then persuaded his father to shift the focus of the family business to the Los Angeles basin. Paul continued to work for the family company in addition to conducting oil drilling of his own, securing the family fortune by the time the stock market crashed in 1929. Upon his death in 1930 George left controlling interest in the company to Sarah. In 1934 Paul forced Sarah out of control of the company and gave her an annuity. His fortune grew as he acquired the controlling interest in several companies and became the head of a vast organization with activities in oil exploration, transportation, production and marketing, as well as minerals, manufacturing, real estate and agriculture. In the mid-1940s Getty bought the Saudi Arabian portion of the lease on the mineral rights in the Neutral Zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait; his wealth dramatically increased when this site produced oil in 1953.

Beginning in the early 1930s Getty lived in a house he built next to William Randolph Hearst’s on the beach in Santa Monica. During World War II he moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma for four years to supervise wartime production of parts for Allied aircraft at his Spartan Aircraft plant. In 1946 he purchased 64 acres in Malibu, California and renovated the existing hacienda, known as the Ranch House, where he lived until 1951. When Getty departed the United States for Europe in 1951, he kept his Malibu estate for the display of his art collection and for the possibility of his eventual return.

Getty had been traveling throughout Europe and collecting art since the 1930s. In 1938 he made his first major purchases: a group of furniture; a carpet that had belonged to Louis XIV, often called the "Ardabil Carpet"; and Rembrandt’s Marten Looten (he donated the Ardabil Carpet and the Rembrandt to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1954). His other interest was antiquities, fueled by visits to the Vatican Museums that began in 1939. He took pride in being knowledgeable in the areas in which he was collecting and in finding bargains. Getty continued to collect art throughout his lifetime, despite occasional assertions that he was no longer in the market. By 1968 his art collection had begun to outgrow the Ranch House and he began planning a new building on the property to properly house these works. He chose to pattern this new museum building after a first-century Roman country house, based primarily on the plans of the ancient Villa dei Papiri near Herculaneum. This museum, often called the Villa, opened to the public on January 16, 1974.

After leaving the United States Getty lived in hotel suites in Europe until 1960 when he moved to Sutton Place, a historic 72-room Tudor manor located 25 miles southwest of London. In 1957 Fortune magazine designated Getty as the world’s wealthiest man, and he became the object of considerable public interest. For the rest of his life, both the respectable press and the tabloids reported on his perceived eccentricities and his private life, which included five marriages and divorces. J. Paul Getty died in England on June 6, 1976 without ever returning to California. Although he never saw the museum, he is buried at the Getty Villa property, on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Much to everyone's surprise Getty left the bulk of his fortune to the museum with a mission to promote "the diffusion of artistic and general knowledge."

Getty, J. Paul. The history of the oil business of George F. and J. Paul Getty from 1903 to 1939. Los Angeles (?), 1941. Getty, J. Paul. Europe in the eighteenth century. [Santa Monica, Calif.]: privately printed, 1949. Le Vane, Ethel, and J. Paul Getty. Collector's choice: the chronicle of an artistic odyssey through Europe. London: W.H. Allen, 1955. Getty, J. Paul. My life and fortunes. New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1963. Getty, J. Paul. The joys of collecting. New York: Hawthorn Books, 1965. Getty, J. Paul. How to be rich. Chicago: Playboy Press, 1965. Getty, J. Paul. The golden age. New York: Trident Press, 1968. Getty, J. Paul. How to be a successful executive. Chicago: Playboy Press, 1971. Getty, J. Paul. As I see it: the autobiography of J. Paul Getty. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice-Hall, 1976.

From the guide to the J. Paul Getty diaries, 1938-1946, 1948-1976, (The Getty Research Institute Institutional Records and Archives 1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100 Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688 (310) 440-7390 archives@getty.edu)

Biographical Note

American oil tycoon and art collector Jean Paul Getty was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on December 15, 1892 to George Franklin Getty (1855-1930) and Sarah Catherine McPherson Risher Getty. Around 1906 the Getty family moved to Los Angeles. Jean Paul, called "Paul," attended a private military school before going on to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the University of California, Berkeley. In 1911, Paul went to Oxford to study economics and political science, completing his diploma in 1913. Afterwards he embarked on a year-long Grand Tour of Europe, which no doubt sparked his interest in art and antiquities.

In 1914 Paul joined the family petroleum business and spent a year in the oil fields of Oklahoma. An astute investment in 160 acres near Stone Bluff, Oklahoma led to Paul’s announcement two years later that he had earned his first million dollars. He returned to Los Angeles and took a break of more than a year before returning to the oil business. Paul then persuaded his father to shift the focus of the family business to the Los Angeles basin. Paul continued to work for the family company in addition to conducting oil drilling of his own, securing the family fortune by the time the stock market crashed in 1929. Upon his death in 1930 George left controlling interest in the company to Sarah. In 1934 Paul forced Sarah out of control of the company and gave her an annuity. His fortune grew as he acquired the controlling interest in several companies and became the head of a vast organization with activities in oil exploration, transportation, production and marketing, as well as minerals, manufacturing, real estate and agriculture. In the mid-1940s Getty bought the Saudi Arabian portion of the lease on the mineral rights in the Neutral Zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait; his wealth dramatically increased when this site produced oil in 1953.

Beginning in the early 1930s Getty lived in a house he built next to William Randolph Hearst’s on the beach in Santa Monica. During World War II he moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma for four years to supervise wartime production of parts for Allied aircraft at his Spartan Aircraft plant. In 1946 he purchased 64 acres in Malibu, California and renovated the existing hacienda, known as the Ranch House, where he lived until 1951. When Getty departed the United States for Europe in 1951, he kept his Malibu estate for the display of his art collection and for the possibility of his eventual return. Getty had been collecting art since the 1930s. In 1938 he made his first major purchases: a group of furniture; a carpet that had belonged to Louis XIV, often called "Ardabil Carpet"; and Rembrandt’s Marten Looten (he donated the Ardabil Carpet and the Rembrandt to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1954). His other interest was antiquities, fueled by visits to the Vatican Museums that began in 1939. He took pride in being knowledgeable in the areas in which he was collecting and in finding bargains. Getty continued to collect art throughout his lifetime, despite occasional assertions that he was no longer in the market. By 1968 his art collection had begun to outgrow the Ranch House and he began planning a new building on the property to properly house these works. He chose to pattern this new museum building after a first-century Roman country house, based primarily on the plans of the ancient Villa dei Papiri near Herculaneum. This museum, often called the Villa, opened to the public on January 16, 1974.

After leaving the United States Getty lived in hotel suites in Europe until 1960 when he moved to Sutton Place, a historic 72-room Tudor manor located 25 miles southwest of London. In 1957 Fortune magazine designated Getty as the world’s wealthiest man, and he became the object of considerable public interest. For the rest of his life, both the respectable press and the tabloids reported on his perceived eccentricities and his private life, which included five marriages and divorces. J. Paul Getty died in England on June 6, 1976 without ever returning to California. Although he never saw the museum, he is buried at the Getty Villa property, on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Much to everyone's surprise Getty left the bulk of his fortune to the museum with a mission to promote “the diffusion of artistic and general knowledge."

Getty, J. Paul. The history of the oil business of George F. and J. Paul Getty from 1903 to 1939. Los Angeles (?), 1941. Getty, J. Paul. Europe in the eighteenth century. [Santa Monica, Calif.]: privately printed, 1949. Le Vane, Ethel, and J. Paul Getty. Collector's choice: the chronicle of an artistic odyssey through Europe. London: W.H. Allen, 1955. Getty, J. Paul. My life and fortunes. New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1963. Getty, J. Paul. The joys of collecting. New York: Hawthorn Books, 1965. Getty, J. Paul. How to be rich. Chicago: Playboy Press, 1965. Getty, J. Paul. The golden age. New York: Trident Press, 1968. Getty, J. Paul. How to be a successful executive. Chicago: Playboy Press, 1971. Getty, J. Paul. As I see it: the autobiography of J. Paul Getty. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice-Hall, 1976.

From the guide to the Assorted building plans, 1906, 1941-1967, undated, (The Getty Research Institute Institutional Records and Archives 1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100 Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688 (310) 440-7390 archives@getty.edu)

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Subjects:

  • Waterfronts--19th century--Photographs
  • Petroleum--History--United States--20th century
  • Beaches--20th century--Photographs
  • San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, Calif., 1906
  • Billionaires--20th century
  • Architecture
  • Real property
  • Dwellings
  • Piers--19th century--Photographs
  • Art--Collectors and collecting--20th century
  • Waterfronts--California--20th century
  • Ranch houses
  • Executives--Interviews
  • Waterfronts--20th century--Photographs
  • San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, Calif., 1906--Pictorial works
  • Petroleum industry and trade
  • Oil fields
  • Beaches--California--20th century
  • Museum buildings--California
  • Billionaires--United States--20th century
  • Beaches--19th century--Photographs
  • Art--Collectors and collecting
  • Museum buildings
  • Art objects--Collectors and collecting
  • Piers--California--19th century
  • Dwellings--California--Los Angeles, 1940-1950
  • Piers--20th century--Photographs
  • Beaches--California--19th century
  • Petroleum--History--20th century
  • Art museums
  • Waterfronts--California--19th century
  • Diaries--20th century
  • Entrepreneurship--20th century
  • World War, 1939-1945--Equipment and supplies
  • Piers--California--20th century
  • Architecture--California--Los Angeles
  • Oil fields--Oklahoma--Osage Reservation

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not available for this record

Places:

  • California--Los Angeles (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • California--Los Angeles (as recorded)
  • San Francisco (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Santa Monica Mountains (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Santa Monica (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Venice (Los Angeles, Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Pacific Palisades (Los Angeles, Calif.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Santa Monica (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • San Francisco (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Los Angeles (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Italy (as recorded)
  • Oklahoma--Osage Reservation (as recorded)
  • Los Angeles (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Pacific Palisades (Los Angeles, Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Topanga Canyon (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Ocean Park (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Santa Monica Mountains (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Venice (Los Angeles, Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Topanga Canyon (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Malibu (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Malibu (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Ocean Park (Calif.) (as recorded)