cover of book

The Joys of Collecting
by J. Paul Getty
J. Paul Getty Trust, The, 2011
Paper: 978-1-60606-087-2
Library of Congress Classification N5201.G48 2011
Dewey Decimal Classification 707.5


In 1965, shortly after founding his namesake museum in Malibu, California, J. Paul Getty (1892–1976) penned a reminiscence about “the romance and zest—the excitement, suspense, thrills, and triumphs—that make art collecting one of the most exhilarating and satisfying of all human endeavors.”  

Newly republished, this book offers a fascinating portrait of an idiosyncratic and highly personal passion for art. In the late 1920s, Getty writes, “It appeared to me that the days of collecting were just about over. The men who had made their millions . . . before I’d started in business . . . had swept up just about everything worthwhile.” The onset of the Great Depression changed the landscape dramatically; Getty recounts how his serious acquisitions began in the early 1930s and continued for more than three decades. The text, adorned with revealing anecdotes, covers paintings, antiquities, and decorative arts and furniture, with conversational asides discussing Getty’s philosophy of collecting. This personal chronicle reads like an intriguing postcard from a vastly different—and increasingly distant—era.


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