The Research Institute's research projects support the development of new art historical scholarship and are often based on the special collections of the Research Library. Covering multiple fields and methodologies, these projects generate conversations between Research Institute staff and visiting scholars with wider networks of expertise, and disseminate outcomes to an international scholarly audience. Research project organizers welcome conversations with scholars working in related areas.

Active Projects


An Art Market for America: Dealers, Collectors, Philanthropy and the Formation of American Museums
Before 1880 the presence of Old Master paintings in the United States was rare. But the following decades saw a surge of importation across the Atlantic of what would form the core collections of American museums. This project analyzes the dynamics that shaped this new art market and American museums' collections. Using the Research Institute's strong dealer archives from this period—particularly those of M. Knoedler & Co., Duveen Brothers, and Goupil & Cie—it builds on the resources of the Project for the Study of Collecting and Provenance to create databases of the Knoedler and Duveen stock books.

Workshop: The Knoedler Workshop (May 7–May 8, 2014)
Databases: forthcoming

The Getty Iris post: Knoedler, Mellon, and an Unlikely Sale


Art of Alchemy
Focusing on the Research Institute's rich holdings in the history and practice of alchemy—the art of synthetically producing natural substances—this project sheds new light on the influence of alchemy on the intellectual and cultural landscape of the early modern period in Europe. The Art of Alchemy is a collaboration between the Getty Research Institute, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the University of Southern California.

Exhibition: forthcoming
Publication: forthcoming

Digitized books: Getty Alchemy Collection
Digitized collection: Manly Palmer Hall Collection of Alchemical Manuscripts, 1500–1825
Exhibition: Migrations of the Mind: Manuscripts from the Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection


Book Art of the Russian Avant-Garde
Created by the artists and poets Goncharova, Khlebnikov, Kruchenykh, Larionov, Malevich, and Rozanova during the years 1910 through 1917, Futurist book art transformed the hybrid medium of the artist's book in all its dimensions—imagery, poetry, and design. Moreover, word and image in Futurist books depended upon sound. The poetic language of zaum, an invented word meaning "beyonsense," expressed itself in the book through its startling phonic dimension.

Videos: Selection of poems (forthcoming)
Publication: Books to Look at, Books to Listen to: The Great Russian Avant-Garde Experiment (forthcoming)

Digitized books: Russian Avant-Garde Books
Symposium: The Book as Such in the Russian Avant-Garde
Performance: Explodity: An Evening of Transrational Sound Poetry (includes performance video and program)
Exhibition: Tango with Cows


Brazilian Art History
Reframing the narrative of art history in ways that respond to the specific conditions of Brazil, this project emphasizes the country's dynamic cultural encounters both internally and beyond its borders, as opposed to an older model that sought to identify what was essentially Brazilian about Brazilian art. Project participants are scholars of different periods of Brazilian art, ranging from precontact through the 20th century, and they specialize in media as diverse as feathers, architecture, painting, and new media.

Publication: The Art and Art Histories of Brazil: Reconnecting Traditions (forthcoming)


British Sales, 1780–1800: The Rise of the London Art Market
The French Revolution instigated an enormous redistribution of art throughout Europe. London emerged as a funnel through which large numbers of objects flowed into galleries, establishing itself as the hub of the international art trade. As part of a joint research endeavor with the National Gallery, London, this project incorporates auction catalogue material from the late 18th century into the Getty Provenance Index®, allowing researchers to track patterns of taste and more fully explore the power of art markets.

Database records: British Sales, 1780–1800 (93,000 records)
Conference: London and the Emergence of a European Art Market (c.1780–1820)
Publication: forthcoming

The Getty Iris post: Life Before eBay: British Art Auctions at the End of the 18th Century


Digital Diego
The Digital Diego project aims to make Diego Rivera's sketchbook of California miners accessible to the public for a period of one year. Rivera created the sketchbook in preparation for the Allegory of California (1930–31) fresco located in the San Francisco Stock Exchange Tower.

Digitized sketchbook: California Miners
Getty Research Journal essay: Diego Rivera's "California Miners" Sketchbook (1931): New Research on the Artist in California during the Great Depression


Digital Kirchner
This project centers on a series of illustrations of the Apocalypse by German artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880–1938). Created on the back of cigarette boxes in 1917, the small-scale drawings were tipped into an album that is preserved in the Research Institute's special collections. A digital facsimile of the album will be incorporated into the interactive digital environment of the Getty Scholars' Workspace™, where scholars from different backgrounds will collaborate on its evaluation.

Digital publication: forthcoming
Getty Research Journal essay: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's Drawings of the Apocalypse

Digitized sketchbooks: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Sketchbooks, 1917–1932


Digital Mellini
Built around an unpublished 17th-century manuscript preserved in the Research Institute's special collections, this project explores Web 2.0 methods of social information gathering and sharing to create a new kind of living, collaborative publication that offers expanded opportunities for research and communication. The project's broader goals include making this uniquely valuable scholarly resource widely available to researchers and exploring new methods and tools for digital publication.

Digital publication: forthcoming
Getty Research Journal essay: Digital Mellini: Project Update and Observations on Translating Historical Texts

Workshop: Digital Art History: Challenges, Tools & Practical Solutions
The Getty Iris post: Creating an Online Collaboration Tool for Scholars


Digital Montagny
The focus of this project is French artist Elie-Honoré Montagny's Recueil d'Antiquités (1804), an unpublished album in the Research Institute's Special Collections that contains drawings, tracings, and annotations by Montagny during his 1804–05 travels in southern Italy and Sicily. As the second manuscript to be researched and edited online using the Getty Scholars' Workspace™ digital environment, the focus here is on images as opposed to Digital Mellini's concentration on text.

Digital publication: forthcoming

Digitized book: Recueil d'antiquités dessinées . . .


The Display of Art in Roman Palaces, 1550–1750
This project identifies and analyzes patterns of display in noble Roman residences over two centuries (1550–1750), a period that encompassed the beginnings of collecting as it is understood today and the end of the baroque. The very concept of art and the writing of the history of art developed in close dialogue with display in such settings. As part of the project, hundreds of Roman inventories were added to the Getty Provenance Index®.

Publication: Display of Art in the Roman Palace, 1550–1750

Conference: Display of Art in Roman Palaces, 1550–1750
The Getty Iris post: Display of Art in Roman Palaces


German Sales, 1930–1945: Art Works, Art Markets, and Cultural Policy
Although individual art dealers and collectors have been the subjects of monographic publications and exhibitions, the wider German art trade during the first half of the 20th century has not yet been fully explored. This research is not only important from an art-historical perspective, it can also provide new insight into the cultural policy and political objectives of the National Socialist regime during the 1930s and 1940s. The Getty Research Institute, in partnership with the Kunstbibliothek—Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, and the Forschungsstelle "Entartete Kunst" at the Universität Hamburg, is developing cohesive, cross-institutional data—around 250,000 records to date—about art transactions in Germany between 1920 and 1945 for the Getty Provenance Index®. This project is supported jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft as well as by a grant from the VolkswagenStiftung.

Database records: German Sales, 1930–1945 (230,000 records)
Workshop: Market and Might: The Business of Art in the "Third Reich" (September 23–27, 2013)
Lecture: A Search Renewed: New Efforts to Trace Artworks Displaced during the World War II Era (September 25, 2013)
Publication: forthcoming

Research guide: Collecting and Provenance Research
Bibliography: Provenance Research Resources
Bibliography: Holocaust-Era Research Resources
The Getty Iris post: Publishing German Sales, A Look under the Hood of the Getty Provenance Index
The Getty Iris post: New Online Resource to Reveal Stories about Nazi-Looted Art, Wartime Art Market


Getty Scholars' Workspace™
Part of an ongoing Research Institute digital art history initiative, Getty Scholars' Workspace provides an online environment for conducting collaborative art-historical research projects and creating born-digital publications that allow researchers to collaboratively engage with digital facsimiles of primary source materials. The goal of this project is to release a flexible, robust open-source electronic toolset, with accompanying technical and methodological documentation, to be shared with the international art history community.


Harald Szeemann
The goal of this project is a comprehensive research and programming plan for the Harald Szeemann Papers during the four-year cataloging process. The Research Institute will direct research in the archive towards important questions in the field of art history, making the best strategic use of the archive as portions become available. As one of its earliest activities, the Institute collaborated with Fondazione Prada in 2013 to produce a full-scale reconstruction of Szeemann's seminal 1969 exhibition, When Attitudes Become Form.

Workshop: Harald Szeemann Workshop (June 11–12, 2014)
Discussion: Reconsidering Harald Szeemann
Conference: forthcoming
Digitization of primary sources: forthcoming
Exhibition: When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013
Exhibition: forthcoming
Publication: forthcoming

Archive: Harald Szeemann Papers, circa 1836–2010 (bulk 1957–2005)
The Getty Iris post: Preserving the Legacy of Harald Szeemann
The Getty Iris post: Treasures from the Vault: Harald Szeemann's "Project Files"
The Getty Iris post: Harald Szeemann, From Vision to Nail


Jackson Pollock, Mural
Commissioned in 1943 by Peggy Guggenheim, Mural is a monumental transitional painting by American artist Jackson Pollock (1912–1956). Now in the collection of the University of Iowa Museum of Art, in 2012 Mural came to the Getty Center, where a team of scientists and conservators in the J. Paul Getty Museum and Getty Conservation Institute began analyzing, conserving, and researching this important painting. Stories about its creation and installation have dominated interpretations for decades. With new knowledge about the pigments and materials used in the painting, art historians and curators from the Getty Research Institute and the Museum consider how these findings modify an understanding of Pollock's process and larger body of work.

Workshop: Experts' Meeting for Mural
Symposium: Jackson Pollock's Mural: Transition, Context, Afterlife
Exhibition: Jackson Pollock's Mural
Publications: forthcoming


Lawrence Alloway
Lawrence Alloway (1926–1990) was a key figure in the development of modern art in Europe and America, maintaining a prolific output as an art critic and curator. Credited with introducing American abstract expressionism to England and coining the term "pop art," Alloway had eclectic interests including architecture, earthworks, feminism, film, neorealism, science fiction, and public sculpture. This project addresses the multiple facets of Alloway's life and career and his impact on art history and criticism.

Publication: Lawrence Alloway: Critic and Curator (due June 2015)

Collection: Lawrence Alloway Papers, 1935–2003
Collection: Sylvia Sleigh Papers, 1803–2011, (bulk 1940–2000)
Conference: Lawrence Alloway Reconsidered
Publication: Tate Papers Issue 16
The Getty Iris post: Sylvia Sleigh and Lawrence Alloway, Mutual Muses


Pacific Standard Time LA/LA (Los Angeles, Latin America)
This project conducts in-depth explorations of the artistic connections between Los Angeles and Latin America, the relationships between Latin America and the rest of the world, and the history of exchange among Latin American countries and throughout the Latin American diaspora. As part of a larger initiative by the J. Paul Getty Trust, the Research Institute is collaborating with other Getty programs and will take part in a region-wide series of exhibitions and events in 2017.

Workshop program: Pacific Standard Time LA/LA (PDF, 1p., 129KB)
Symposia: forthcoming
Exhibitions: forthcoming
Publications: forthcoming

Press release: Getty Announces Topic For New Initiative (PDF, 2pp., 75KB)


Photo Study Collections Research Project
The goal of this project is a conversation, both local and global, about the use of photo archives. Research topics include how photography transforms mediums, how scale is represented, and how artists and art historians may have produced and collected photographs of artworks to support their own perceptions of significance. Other areas of inquiry focus on whether digital photography will fill the same role as its analog predecessor and whether digital collections will be able to replicate the research value of photo archives.

Workshop: Photography's Mediation of Sculpture (January 16–17, 2014)
Symposium: forthcoming
Colloquium: forthcoming
Getty Research Journal essay: Foto Arte Minore: The Max Hutzel Collection of Photographs of Art and Architecture in Italy

Resource: Getty Research Institute Photo Archive
Resource: Guide to the Photo Archive and Database


Printmaking in the Age of Louis XIV, 1660–1715
In collaboration with the Bibliothèque nationale de France, this project reassesses the history of prints and techniques, print production, commerce, and taste and collecting in France from 1660 to 1715, providing the first broad overview of a watershed period once considered the golden age of French printmaking. From the grand portraits to satiric views of everyday life, the project explores the rich variety and varying functions of prints that came to define French power and style in ancient regimes.

Workshop: Printmaking in the Age of Louis XIV (January 14–18, 2013)
Symposium: forthcoming
Exhibition: A Kingdom of Images: French Prints in the Age of Louis XIV, 1660–1715 (due June 2015)
Publication: A Kingdom of Images: French Prints in the Age of Louis XIV, 1660–1715 (due June 2015)

Exhibition: Printing the Grand Manner: Charles Le Brun and Monumental Prints in the Age of Louis XIV
Publication: Printing the Grand Manner: Charles Le Brun and Monumental Prints in the Age of Louis XIV


Producing Empire: Visual Culture and the Politics of Representation (The ACHAC Collection)
This project uses the Research Institute's Association pour la Connaissance de l'histoire de l'Afrique Contemporaine (ACHAC) Collection to reveal how the French displayed, defined, and represented their empire. Through materials that extend across several mediums including photographs, postcards, maps, travel posters, advertisements, and children's games, this collection offers unique insights into the impressive range of visual materials utilized by the French authorities in representing the diversity of their international colonies.

Graduate seminar: Producing the French Empire: The ACHAC Collection and the Politics of Representation (Spring 2014)
Workshop: Producing Empire: Visual Culture and the Politics of Representation (The ACHAC Collection) (May 9, 2014)
Symposium: forthcoming
Exhibition: forthcoming
Publication: forthcoming

Collection: ACHAC Collection, 1880–ca. 1975


Sarnath: Exhibiting the Birth and History of Indian Buddhism
Situated in northeastern India, Sarnath is one of the birthplaces of Buddhism and an important pilgrimage site along the Ganges River. While the local museum in Sarnath is rich in artworks crucial to the study of Buddhist art and history, its display changed little since the museum opened in 1910. The Getty programs will collaborate with Indian colleagues at the Sarnath Museum and at the Archaeological Survey of India in Delhi, experts at the British Museum in London, and scholars of Buddhist art to update the museum's display, create a database of all artworks pertaining to Sarnath, and establish a set of best practices for archaeological site museums in India.

Workshops: forthcoming
Symposia: forthcoming
Reinstallation: forthcoming


Transpacific Encounters
The "discovery" of the Americas was a momentous occasion that ushered in the early modern period and the era of globalization. Aside from the ensuing Spanish conquest and colonialization of the Americas, other types of encounters fundamentally altered how artworks and trade goods circulated the globe. This project explores the artistic ramification of these encounters, focusing on the cross-cultural global networks that occurred between the Americas and Asia.

Conference: Objects in Motion in the Early Modern World (includes conference video and program)
Symposium: Transpacific Engagements: Visual Culture of Global Exchange (1781–1869) (includes symposium program and abstracts)
Publication: forthcoming


Video Art in Latin America
This project addresses the need for more English-language resources about the history of video art from Latin America and provides access to key works of video art from the region through the special collections of the Research Institute. The goal is to link archival resources to emerging threads of interdisciplinary scholarship and re-examine canonical narratives of video art within the context of pan-American practices. The project also aims to expand the historical and conceptual frameworks for studying global video art alongside a broader global media practice.

Digital resource: forthcoming
Workshop: forthcoming

Completed Projects


Los Angeles Architecture, 1940–1990
Part of the Getty's Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A., this project explored all aspects of the history of Los Angeles's architectural and urban development, from the city's mass-suburbanization and resulting sprawl to the construction of its freeway system, as well as architects' experiments with new building types, materials, and techniques. This broader approach enables a better understanding of a city that has been both maligned and admired, a city that some scholars have called the first postmodern city; others, the city of the future.

Symposium: Urban Ambition: Assessing the Evolution of L.A. (includes symposium video and program)
Conversation: Why L.A.? An Evening with Hitoshi Abe, Neil Denari, Craig Hodgetts, and Peter Noever (includes event video)
Public programming: Related Events
Exhibition: Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940–1990
Publication: Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940–1990

Resource: Julius Shulman Resources
Resource: Architecture and Design Collection Highlights
Collection: Julius Shulman digital photography archive
Collection: Ray Kappe Papers, 1954–2007
Collection: Pierre Koenig Papers and Drawings, 1925–2007
Collection: John Lautner Papers, 1929–2002
Collection: Union Station Collection


Orientalist Photography
The Middle East and North Africa—the "Orient" to 19th-century European travelers—were crucial in photography's development as a new technology and an art form. Meanwhile, photography was pivotal in maintaining Europe's distinctively Orientalist vision of the region. Orientalist photographs permit research into photography's role in shaping European and non-European views of the Middle East and North Africa; further, attention to the local artists, patrons, audiences, and collectors of these photographs complicates notions of the "Orient" both geographically and culturally.

Graduate seminar: Contact Visions: Orientalism, Photography, and the Middle East (Winter 2009)
Symposium: Zoom Out: The Making and Unmaking of the "Orient" through Photography
Publication: Photography's Orientalism: New Essays on Colonialism's Representation

Collection: Pierre de Gigord Collection of Photographs
Collection: Jacobson Orientalist Photography Collection
Exhibition: Walls of Algiers: Narratives of the City
Publication: Walls of Algiers: Narratives of the City through Text and Image


Pacific Standard Time
Pacific Standard Time was the culmination of a long-term initiative by the Getty to research, preserve and exhibit the art and cultural history of postwar Los Angeles. The Getty Foundation funded exhibitions and research by over 60 cultural organizations across Southern California that addressed diverse topics including postwar design, African American art, the Light and Space movement, and the history of the Los Angeles Woman's Building. The archives produced by this initiative are now part of the Research Institute's special collections.

Website: Pacific Standard Time
Symposium: Artists & Archives: A Pacific Standard Time Symposium (includes symposium video and program)
Conversation: Modern Art in Los Angeles: Frank Gehry and the Los Angeles Art Scene (includes event video)
Conversation: Modern Art in Los Angeles: Assemblage and Politics (includes event video)
Conversation: Modern Art in Los Angeles: Women Curators in Los Angeles (includes video)
Interviews: Modern Art in Los Angeles and Pacific Standard Time Recordings, 2003–2012
Interviews: Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. Oral History Interviews with Artists, Filmmakers, Curators, Collectors, and Critics, 2008–2012
Events: Performance and Public Art Festival
Exhibition: Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950–1970
Exhibition: Greetings from L.A.: Artists and Publics, 1950–1980
Exhibition: From Start to Finish: De Wain Valentine's Gray Column
Exhibition: In Focus: Los Angeles, 1945–1980
Publication: Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles Art, 1945–1980

Collection: Betty Asher Papers, 1860–1999
Collection: Jan Baum Gallery Records, 1967–2007
Collection: Charles Brittin Papers, 1914–2004, bulk 1950–1975
Collection: Experiments in Art and Technology Los Angeles Records, 1969–1975
Collection: Hal Glicksman Papers, ca. 1927–2010
Collection: High Performance Magazine Records 1953–2005
Collection: Henry Hopkins Papers, 1950–2005
Collection: Robert Irwin Papers, ca. 1940–2011, bulk 1970–2011
Collection: Allan Kaprow Papers, ca. 1940–1997
Collection: Julius Shulman Photography Archive, 1935–2009
Collection: Edmund Teske Papers, 1933–1996
The Getty Iris post: Avant-Garde Antics: The Art of Display in Postwar Los Angeles


Surrealism in Latin America
The history of surrealism in Latin America is a vibrant research field that has developed over the last few decades. Scholars, however, face significant challenges: primary documents are often located in archives that are difficult to access, and secondary sources exist in several languages, complicating conversations among scholars. Work remains on the relationship between surrealism and pre-Columbian art; the role of key figures such as Peruvian poet César Moro and Austrian painter and editor Wolfgang Paalen; and surrealism's continuing legacy in the work of postwar artists in Latin America. This project addressed these challenges, producing new research in a wide variety of formats.

Digitized collection: Dyn, No. 1–No. 6 (on-site access only)
Resource: Surrealism in Latin America research guide
Bibliography: Surrealism in Latin America
Workshop program: Surrealism in Latin America
Symposium: Vivísimo Muerto: Debates on Surrealism in Latin America (includes symposium video and program)
Lecture: A "New Friendship between Art and Anthropology": Surrealism in Mexico (includes lecture video)
Exhibition: Farewell to Surrealism: The Dyn Circle in Mexico
Publication: Farewell to Surrealism: The Dyn Circle in Mexico
Publication: Surrealism in Latin America: Vivísimo Muerto
The Getty Iris post: The "Scandalous Life" of César Moro
The Getty Iris post: The Forgotten Surrealist