Art and Gardens at the Getty Center

posted by Sharon Odegaard 31 Comments
Getty Center, Los Angeles

The Getty Center is a sprawling campus that is enjoyable to visit. Getty Center, Los AngelesWhile the architecture of the campus is stunning, there’s more to explore. The buildings house permanent collections of master works and also feature changing exhibits. And the Central Garden is itself a work of art. Let’s take a look at a few of the treasures inside. Collections live in 4 Pavilions — North, South, East, and West.Getty Center Gardens Los Angeles

The Works of Art

J. Paul Getty collected more than 400 works of art, including European paintings. Since his death in 1976, the museum has continued to acquire art. The most well known painting belonging to the Getty Center is Vincent Van Gogh’s Irises.Getty Center, Los AngelesYou are able to stand so close you can see the brush strokes.  Getty Center, Los Angeles

My personal favorite is this charming portrait of a 7-year-old Dutch Baroness painted in 1755 by Jean-Etienne Liotard. And there’s a wistful portrait of a young girl by Belgian painter Fernand Knopff, who places the child against an adult-sized door 0n a tilted floor to show her vulnerability.Getty Center, Los AngelesGetty Center, Los Angeles

When I walk into a room with original art, especially of the impressionists, I’m moved to be present there. The Getty Center offers a fine collection of this period. One of Claude Monet’s series of wheatstacks from 1890 is here. Getty Center, Los Angeles

And an earlier Monet still life (1869) is surprisingly defined compared to his later impressionistic work.Getty Center, Los Angeles

I learned that, when an exhibit is being planned, the colors of the walls are chosen to best show the art for that particular room. So you will see different colors of walls as you move through the galleries. The skylights above many of the rooms also allows natural light to fall on the paintings.Getty Center, Los Angeles

Getty Center, Los AngelesGetty Center, Los AngelesGetty Center, Los AngelesGetty Center, Los Angeles

A Cactus Garden

Even from inside you can look out windows or go out on the balcony and glimpse parts of the gardens. This cactus garden is on the south side of the art gallery, just waiting to be discovered. Getty Center, Los Angeles

The Central Garden

On to the Central Garden! This is a work of living art designed by Robert Irwin, an artist who knew nothing about plants. He researched and worked with others to learn what to plant. Irwin had the instincts of an artist, which is what mattered. The result is an ever-changing formal gardens that show off what happens when you combine color, light, and reflection. The centerpiece is a pool with a curving design of greenery.  Getty Center, Los AngelesGetty Center, Los AngelesBursts of color come from the bougainvillea “trees” that are formed using custom-made trellises.Getty Center, Los AngelesGetty Center, Los AngelesCircular paths are lined with an extravagant variety of blooming  plants.  More than 500 varieties of plants live in the Central Gardens.Getty Center, Los AngelesGetty Center, Los Angeles

Getty Center, Los AngelesGetty Center, Los Angeles Red poppies not usually seen in Southern California. They thrive here.Getty Center, Los AngelesGetty Center, Los Angeles

I wound around the paths more than once, enjoying the relaxing gardens during my leisurely stroll. Getty Center, Los AngelesGetty Center Gardens

One More Surprising Exhibition

I was reluctant to leave the Getty Center, so on my way out, I went back in the main entry and decided to see the orientation film. While I chatted with the docent in line, I learned that the West Pavilion is showing original Leonardo da Vinci art. What? I totally missed that. So after the short film, I went back to the art gallery. The exhibition is in one small room, with just a few drawings of the great artist. But my return to the gallery was well worth it because here is one of the drawings. It’s from 1503 and is in black chalk, pen and brown ink. The title is Studies of the Christ Child with a Lamb. Here is art from da Vinci that is 500 years old, and you stand right in front of this treasure! Getty Center, Los AngelesGetty Center, Los AngelesWhether you are gazing at the art of the masters or winding through gardens of living, blooming art, you will find something at the Getty Center that speaks to your soul. Getty Center, Los Angeles

How about you? Have you visited a garden or art gallery that moved you with its beauty?


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Getty Center Gardens - Exploringrworld.comGetty Center Los Angeles Central Gardens -

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William Kendall at

An incredible place. I’d love to visit. The Monet paintings particularly draw my eye.

Tamar A Strauss-Benjamin at

Those trees are amazing!

Ken Schneider at

The beauty and the colors are overwhelming!

Michelle at

The Getty Museum is a place my husband and I have discussed seeing. I knew that it had art work, but had no idea about the gardens. The bougainvillea trees are stunning!

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup at

I love the unique “trees” – how clever to use trellises to shape the vine!!
Thanks for sharing at

Carol at

The art is fantastic but the bougainvillea “trees” blow my mind.

Junieper/Jesh at

Amazing post Sharon! Yo have a knack for displaying the works and artists that are less well known. For the life of me, the question why one painter becomes so well known and another of equal or even more sophisticated skill stays hidden is a mystery to me. Actually never have seen the gardens in bloom (isn’t it interesting, that the closer one lives, the more one takes things for granted:):) ) Many thanks for sharing one of the hubs of my previous town LA! Have a lovely week –

Teresa at

That was amazing. I really enjoyed the flowers and the art work. Thank you so much for sharing! Teresa from NanaHood

Photo Cache at

How beautiful is your coverage of this place. It’s a pity that I live in NorCal and have not explored SoCal/LA area. Must do something about that soon.

Lady Fi at

Stunning shots and such a pretty location.

Mandy at

Wow! I had no idea the Getty Center had gardens. I was planning on a trip there this summer, but I was expecting it to be just the museum. I guess I’ll need to plan for more time to explore the Getty Center than I was originally expecting to.

Margy at

I was born and lived in Southern California for 55 years but never made it to the Getty Center. I guess I should have. – Margy

Fun60 at

They are all works of art. His collection of impressionist art includes some of the best especially the irises by Van Gogh. My post this week is about the Van Gogh exhibition in London which I thoroughly enjoyed. Your photos of Getty’s garden loook like works of art and what a brilliant idea to train the bougainvillea like that. Thanks for sharing.

Allison at

I can only handle so much museum time but that garden is gorgeous! I would probably spend the whole day in the garden while my husband checks out the museum.

betty - NZ at

It looks like an interesting place to spend some time. Your images are impressive.

I appreciate your contribution to ‘My Corner of the World’ this week!
My Corner of the World

Molly at

Those bougainvillea trees are stunning. I have never seen them like that before


Sarah at

I went to the Getty Center maybe 8 years ago, when I was last in LA. I remember loving it so this post was a nice way to revisit it! Van Gogh is my absolute favorite artist ever and the Getty is so lucky to have Irises!

Katherine at

So the Getty Center isn’t just a gorgeous building or an example of architecture. I love the gardens at Hampton Court and on the islands off the coast of Stresa in Italy. #FarawayFiles

Lauren at

This museum looks really nice, but I have to admit, you’d probably find me out in the gardens! Those gardens are SO impressive. Love all the colors 🙂

Anna at

The gardens are just wow! I was waiting to see those pictures after your last week´s post (cause to make a separate story about the gardens, you must have really loved them) And now I really see why. I´m a fan of gardens and art galleries in general, so it´s even hard to recall smth that had impressed me the most- I´m impressed all the time lol

Emily at

Wow, I’ve never seen bougainvilleas shaped like that! Both the museum and garden look beautiful!

Corey | Fifi + Hop at

I love the Getty! My aunt lives in L.A. just a few minutes from it so whenever I go out to visit – which isn’t often – we head to the Getty. I just love the gardens there and could walk around all day. Amazing about the Da Vinci exhibition! How incredible and that you just caught it in time! Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles

Bilal at

Great article, really love all the pictures you took! Were definitely a fan of beautiful gardens and would love to check these out

Lissy L'Amoreaux at

The gardens at the Getty are one of my favorite places to visit! I have not been in awhile, those red trees were not there at my last visit, so now I must go back and see!

Céline at

Love the cactus garden and impressionism in general. The color palette of Monet’s wheatstacks painting is stunning!

Erik the Hungry Traveller at

I love museum visits. This place is like a dream come true for me. I have always idolized vincent van gough and seeing that his Irises painting is on display there just made me even excited to visit this place

Jill at

I just loved my first visit to the Getty last year. I love that it’s free making art more accessible to some who can’t afford it – even if it does cost to park – and I love those bouganvillea “trees”. Aren’t they just gorgeous?

Cynthia | Adventuring Woman at

Sharon, I was just in LA! I only had one day to explore (and a second day at the Songkran Festival) so I ended up going to downtown LA, but the Getty was on my wishlist, and now even more so. I visited the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which has a beautiful garden that I really loved. Hope to get to the Getty next visit! #WanderfulWednesday

Sid at

Arthitecture of thid place looks so amazing. Love the vibes and the way you have covered it in this post. Thanks for sharing

Sarah Miduski at

I haven’t visited L.A. yet. I always think it’s just glitz and celebrities, but I would go so I could visit this lovely museum. Not only are the paintings impressive, but the garden is beautiful too. I’ve never seen the Baroness painting. It’s darling, thank you for sharing it along with your love of art. #WeekendWanderlust

katy Stern at

What a wonderful place to visit, the gardens are gorgeous and I also love the portrait of a Dutch Baroness -beautiful! Thanks for linking up to Monday Escapes


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