Getty Spent $230M for Art in Fiscal 2018

Small detail of Michelangelo's Study of a Mourning Woman, 1500-1505, part of the July 2017 purchase
The J. Paul Getty Trust's 2018 report, just released, says the institution spent a record $229,812,000 on collection objects for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018. That's a lot, even by Getty standards—almost five times what was spent in fiscal 2017.

The outlay reflects the purchase of 14 exceptional European drawings (Michelangelo, Parmigianino, Goya, Degas) and a Watteau painting from an unidentified British seller (elsewhere ID'd as hedge fund manager Luca Padulli). When the deal was announced in July 2017, Timothy Potts described the purchase as "the Getty's biggest in terms of financial value." The New York Times estimated the cost as over $100 million.
Camille Claudel, Torso of a Crouching Woman, model c. 1884-85; cast by 1913. It's one of four European sculptures added in fiscal 2018
The report does not break out how much the Getty paid for the Padulli works, and it was a busy collection year otherwise. The museum also bought three antiquities for the Villa re-opening and four European sculptures. (One, a Renaissance marble Crying Putto by Agostino Busti, hasn't otherwise been announced or shown.) The "collection objects" heading includes acquisitions by the Getty Research Institute as well. Despite the spending, the Getty Trust ended fiscal 2018 with a $7.3 billion endowment, the highest ever in nominal dollars.

As usual photography acquisitions dominate numerically. It's notable that most are gifts, and most are contemporary. Among them is a collection of holograms commissioned by Detroit-area collectors Guy and Nora Barron. This includes 3D images by John Baldessari, Larry Bell, Louise Bourgeois, Roy Lichtenstein, Marisol, Dorothea Rockburne, Ed Ruscha, James Turrell, and others.

Among the Getty purchases is Erwin Blumenfeld's Hitlerfresse (1933). A unique collage by the Dadaist-turned-fashion photographer, it morphs a skull to der Fuhrer's face. The image was considered so politically potent that Allied air forces dropped reproductions of it on Nazi territory.
Erwin Blumenfeld, Hitlerfresse, 1933


Anonymous said…
I wonder how many invaluable acquisitions were never made during the "reign" of controversial former director Barry Munitz?

Anonymous said…
There just wasn’t enough in the expense account...err..I mean acquisition budget.
Luce said…
The 14 drawings were put on display and are exquisite.( I believe two were held back. )All masterpieces now in the Getty collection.