The J. Paul Getty Museum

Portrait of J. Paul Getty

Object Details


Portrait of J. Paul Getty


Shinjiro Nakamura (Japanese, 1906 - 2003)




about 1955–1960


Oil on canvas

Object Number:



65.1 × 53 cm (25 5/8 × 20 7/8 in.)


© Estate of Shinjiro Nakamura

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Object Description

Japanese artist Shinjiro Nakamura (中村 新次郎) created two virtually identical portraits of J. Paul Getty: the present work and 2003.95. In both, Getty appears seated on a wooden chair, turned away from a desk covered with papers, gazing intensely into the distance. Here, the desk and paneling in the background are more broadly rendered. The flatter shadows and modeling of the face may indicate that this was executed in preparation for the other composition. Although the dates of the two paintings are not certain, they were created sometime before or during 1965, since they are listed in Getty’s personal art collection ledger that year.

Utilizing a conventional pose, Getty appears at a diagonal to the viewer, his face in profile. Nakamura’s sketchy style and neutral color palette provide a stark reflection of Getty as a staunch businessman.