The Getty Center

The whole time I was at the Getty Center, I kept thinking about the episode of Project Runway where the contestants go to the Getty Center to be inspired for their runway design. I kept hoping that Tim Gunn would pop around the corner, but alas, he never did. However, I did spend some time thinking about what would have inspired me should I ever take up fashion design. Because our time at the Getty was so limited, I barely scratched the surface of what it as to offer. I wish I could have seen its collection of decorative arts, but I ended up in the sculpture and painting wing. First, the sculptures.

(I have the title and artist listed as tags, so if you hover your mouse over the painting, you can get that information.)

I did get to see a few amazing pieces of furniture, including this candelabra.

And some paintings. This first one is by Pissarro, and it made me smile. Not just because of the painting, but it reminded me Peter and Penny. There are two works of art hanging above the dining room table: one by Monet and one by Pissarro. The paintings have the artists’ names at the bottom, and Peter used to love to say the letters for Pissarro, except he always said them backward. O-R-R-A-S-S-I-P. Just before I moved, Penny was starting to say the letters too. Well, kind of. Mostly she liked the O.

I like this painting by Jacques-Louis David called The Farewell of Telemachus and Eucharis.

I had to look up the story because my Greek lit knowledge is quite scanty. Telemachus was the son of Odysseus. While traveling in search of his father, he falls in love with a nymph, Eucharis, but he must leave her to continue his search. Mostly, I just loved this tender embrace. Although it does seem like Telemachus is ready to move on, doesn’t it?.

If you’re feeling a little bleak about your job, you will sympathize with lady in The Milliners by Edgar Degas.

Doesn’t she just look sad? Like she realized that she’s going nowhere with a job as a milliner. I totally sympathize. I’ve been there before. Contrast it with The Millinery Shop (also by Degas) at the Art Institute of Chicago. She seems much more engaged in the process. I guess some people like making hats and others don’t.

I looked at this self-portrait of Degas for quite a while, too.

What does it mean when you look at someone out of the corners of your eyes? That you care, but you don’t want them to know you care? He has kind of a nonchalant look in this picture, yes? Casual but interested? I’m not really sure.

Here are the portraits of two sisters.

Can you imagine them singing the song “Sisters”? I think the one sister would stab the other.

And finally, the piece that I would have used for my inspiration if I were on Project Runway. I don’t know what it is about this painting, but I just loved it. It’s called A Revery by Albert Joseph Moore.

(Sorry the photo of the painting is just a little blurry.) First of all, I love the strong patterns. They immediately grabbed my attention, but what captured my attention is how still this painting is despite the pattern. I think it has to do with the solid chair breaking up the strong vertical line. Plus, the extra fabric around the woman gives her extra weight and makes her look more solid. But it’s that fan. Even though it’s open and should be in the process of fanning her, I just don’t think it could possibly move. Like she is in such deep thought that even her fan has stopped. And the way her eyes are slightly downcast makes you pause. They are not inviting you into the portrait. They don’t even notice you at all. I don’t know how I’d translate this painting into fashion (which is why I will never be a designer), but I definitely left feeling inspired.



  1. Nan · March 24, 2011

    Thank you! What a beautiful post.

  2. Pingback: 2011 in Review «

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