Behind the Scenes, Getty Conservation Institute, Getty Foundation, Getty Research Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum, J. Paul Getty Trust

What We’re Grateful For

Jumping for joy at the Getty Villa. Photo: Ginny Le

Jumping for joy at the Getty Villa. Thanks to Ginny Le (Thu Giang Le) for the great photo!

All of us who work at the Getty are pretty lucky; after all, we spend our days around great art and great people. For Thanksgiving, I asked several folks who’ve blogged on the Iris over the past year to name one thing (or maybe two) they’re grateful for about their work. Here’s what they shared.

I’m grateful for intimate moments with art and artists: from encountering something amazing from the GRI’s special collections to a casual conversation with Betye Saar.
Juvenio Guerra, Trust

I’m grateful for the diversity of interesting colleagues I interact with on a daily basis.
Anna Zagorski, Conservation Institute

I’m grateful for our visitors who photograph the museum and give me a fresh new perspective. They help me see the Getty for the first time, every time.
Steve Saldivar, Trust

I’m grateful that I can engage often with some of the inspiring and vibrant traces of artists’ creativity—drawings—from throughout the centuries.
Julian Brooks, Museum

I’m grateful to work in such a beautiful environment in Los Angeles. Making my way up the hill each day, I always appreciate the beauty of the trees and the occasional deer sighting!
Kim Sadler, Trust

I’m grateful to work in a building that houses several centuries’ worth of special collections—everything from an early 17th-century illuminated Neapolitan manuscript charting the search for the philosopher’s stone to Ed Ruscha’s negatives and contacts sheets for his 40-year project to document major streets in L.A.
Liz McDermott, Research Institute

I’m grateful for the opportunity to walk through the Villa gardens, studying the Chiurazzi replicas with Carol Mattusch and Luisa Fucito—arguably the two best informed people about such things—and for our conversations to be filmed and shared with the public.
David Saunders, Museum

I’m grateful that I work with people who are passionate about their work and who make the world a better place by expanding awareness of and participation in the visual arts.
Ron Hartwig, Trust

I’m grateful to get to connect art, the natural environment, and the city as part of my daily experience at the Getty Center.
Antonio Campos, Trust

I’m grateful to work in a place where I can peer at a miniature 500-year-old bird’s-eye view of a Roman landscape, then step outside and look out at a panoramic view of Los Angeles from the mountains to the sea.
Maria Gilbert, Museum

I’m grateful to work surrounded by beauty. For I equate beauty with care and, in this sense, with a fundamental optimism. So the visual feast lifts my spirit every day.
Alice Cisternino Jackel, Museum

I’m grateful to work with such smart, creative, and fun people.
Susan Edwards, Trust

I’m grateful for security guard Isak Popok, who stopped me when I was rushing through the galleries so that he could tell me “secrets” about the Impressionist paintings. Now I know exactly the right away to approach Claude Monet’s The Portal of Rouen Cathedral in Morning Light!
Amy Hood, Trust

I’m grateful when I’m engulfed in a swarm of school kids in the tram. They are so wiggly and squeal so loudly about the view that it makes me smile.
Nina Diamond, Museum

I’m grateful that I get to come to work in the Foundation every day and help visual arts organizations around the world. From one small office in Los Angeles, we’re able to reach and support projects near and far, from the other side of town to the other side of the globe.
Katie Underwood, Foundation

I’m grateful for Fra Bartolommeo’s The Rest on the Flight into Egypt with Saint John the Baptist, because I find it to be the most beautiful painting in the collection. And as a former gallery teacher, I’m grateful every time I see a visitor have an “aha” moment.
Bryan Keene, Museum

As for me, I’m grateful for you, the person reading these words right now. We make our website and the Iris for our online visitors, and we’re thankful you stopped by.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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      It’s been 125 years since Van Gogh’s death, today we celebrate his life’s work.

      5 Ways to See Van Gogh’s Irises

      Through observations, visitor conversations, and some sneaky eavesdropping, we’ve compiled the top 5 ways people enjoy this painting.

      1. In a Crowd
        One of the most obvious ways that people see the painting is in a crowd. The gallery is almost always filled, and you might have to wait before you can get up close. The anticipation builds as you start in the back row, and slowly move until you are close enough to see the brushstrokes of Van Gogh’s thick paint.

      2. Online
        David from Colorado said that this was his first visit, but he had already seen the painting online. In addition to being available through the Getty’s Open Content program, the painting is often seen on social media. Just search #irises on Instagram for a taste of the painting’s popularity. 

      3. Alone
        If you arrive right at 10 a.m. when the museum opens, the quiet gallery provides a perfect backdrop to really examine the painting. Solitude and seclusion gives the gallery a sense of intimacy. 

      4. Multiple Times
        Repeat visits can give rise to multiple interpretations. Is it a melancholy or joyous painting? Expressive or depressive? 

      5. Internationally
        Visitors from all across the world viewed this famous Van Gogh. In just one hour I heard multiple languages—French, Italian, Chinese, Korean, German, and more. Irises seems to rise above cultural boundaries—a Dutch painting inspired by Japanese ukiyo-e prints—to strike an emotional resonance amongst all viewers. 

      What is your favorite lens to view Van Gogh’s work through? 


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