J. Paul Getty Museum Acquisition


The Getty Museum acquired fifteen prints for their permanent collection in September 2003. What led up to it began five years earlier.

In 1998 I had an exhibition at the Atget Photo Gallery in Ventura, CA. The exhibition, entitled Between Two Worlds, consisted of work from Mexico and photographs made in Africa during field projects for the Getty Conservation Institute. Weston Naef, Chief Curator of Photographs, had come and left a comment in the gallery guest-book…


In 2002 my work came to his attention again when Museum department heads were presented with the Bookstore’s new products, of which my panoramic scene of the Central Gardens was included. Mr. Naef thought it one the nicest things they had done and soon after reached out to arrange a review of my portfolio.


Reviews are held in the Study Room, a large library-like area with bright natural light and are usually attended by all the department curators. I arrived early and arranged my prints into groupings by theme and subject. Now and then during the review we would discuss a photograph’s background – sometimes aesthetic, sometimes technical. Eventually Mr. Naef arranged a selection into what I thought were his favorites and possibly some pacing advice.

Those photographs turned out to be acquisition candidates. That was in October 2002. Eleven months later they entered the permanent collection.

1)©Laura Perez-Gavilan2)©Laura Perez-Gavilan3)©Laura Perez-Gavilan

preparing photographs for the upcoming review

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