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J. Paul Getty Museum Announces Record Year for Photograph Donations
Eileen Cowin (American, born 1947), "I See What You're Saying" (Fork), negative 2002, print 2005. Inkjet print, various dimensions, see extensions. Accession No. T.2010.28. ©Eileen Cowin. Santa Monica, California.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- The J. Paul Getty Museum announced today that calendar year 2009 yielded the largest number of donated works to the photographs collection in the Museum’s history. Last year, more than 1,000 photographs were donated to the Museum by 41 individuals, the largest number of donors in a single year to date. Many of these gifts were inspired by a special initiative commemorating the Department of Photographs 25th anniversary led by Dan Solomon, a member of the Getty Museum’s Photographs Council.

In addition to works donated by collectors who have supported the Museum for several years, this year’s gifts also include a large number of objects given by contemporary artists as part of the 25th anniversary initiative. Among some of the highlights of the newly donated works are: “I See What You’re Saying (Fork),” 2002, by Eileen Cowin; “Dogs Chasing My Car in the Desert,” 1996-2001, by John Divola; Alec Soth’s “Rebecca,” 2005, from his Niagara series; and “Cell Phones,” 2007, by Chris Jordan.

“This has been an extraordinary year for gifts to the Department of Photographs and we are grateful to the collectors and artists who have donated objects to the Museum – and particularly grateful to Dan Solomon and our Photographs Council for their continued dedicated support,” said David Bomford, acting director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “In a year when we have had to face a reduced budget for acquisitions, it is especially heartening to know that we have not seen a reduction in the generosity of our donors and supporters.”

Adds Judith Keller, newly named senior curator for the Department of Photographs, “The 25th anniversary initiative was particularly important to last year’s acquisition efforts. The department very much appreciates Dan’s taking a leadership role in this effort. He and his wife Mary have always been among our most enthusiastic supporters.”

This year’s donations made the Getty’s already sizable collection of photographs by Manuel Alvarez Bravo and William Eggleston the best in the country. Earlier this year, the Getty Museum announced that Dan Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser, who have regularly contributed to the Getty’s holdings, donated fifty-two prints by Bravo, which brings the collection of works by this late Mexican master to 247 photographs. Local patrons Caldecott Chubb and his wife Isabel, who have helped build the Museum’s Eggleston collection over the past ten years, gave a group of seventy-eight prints from the late 1970s by this America guru of the color medium.

“We are grateful to all the donors who chose the Getty for their contributions in 2009,” says Keller. “Their donations have deeply enriched our holdings by introducing artists not previously held at the Getty, like Gilles Peress, Robert Polidori, Liza Ryan, Brian Ulrich, Peter Wegner, and Pinar Yolacan.”

Photography is one of the newest, but also one of the largest, collecting areas at the Getty Museum. The department strongly favors collecting the most important photographers in depth so as to enable exhibitions and publications inspired by the collection. Since the Getty Center opened in 1997, the Department of Photographs has expanded its exhibition space from 1,700 to 7,000 square feet with the opening of the Center for Photographs in 2006.

The J. Paul Getty Museum | Dan Solomon | David Bomford |

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