Jim joined the Department of Photographs in 2018, after ten years as curator of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. He specializes in 19th- and 20th-century European and American photography, with emphasis on early French photography, the history of photography in California, and the relationship between photography, painting, and the graphic arts. He has organized or co-organized more than 40 exhibitions on diverse subjects, including monographic exhibitions on Édouard Baldus, Willard Worden, Peter Stackpole, and Arthur Tress. He served as president of the Print Council of America (2013-2017), and established the collection of photographs at the Clark Art Institute in Massachusetts. He received his PhD in art history from Yale University.
ABOUT THE COLLECTION
The Department of Photographs was established in 1984 with the acquisition of several of the most important private collections in the world, including those of Bruno Bischofberger, Arnold Crane, Volker Kahmen/Georg Heusch, and Samuel Wagstaff, Jr. Through a continuing program of acquisitions by purchase and donation, the Getty Museum has assembled the finest and most comprehensive corpus of photographs on the West Coast.
The collection is particularly rich in works dating from the time of photography’s invention in England and France in the late 1830s and early 1840s. International in scope, it encompasses substantial holdings by some of the most significant masters of the twentieth century active in Europe, the United States, South America, Asia, and Africa. Notable among artists represented are William Henry Fox Talbot, Julia Margaret Cameron, Carleton Watkins, Walker Evans, August Sander, and Robert Mapplethorpe. The collection is also the only curatorial area in the Museum that extends into the twenty-first century with contemporary acquisitions.
For conservation purposes, photographs cannot be kept on permanent display. Rotating exhibitions drawn from the permanent collection and supplemented by international loans are on view in the galleries of the Center for Photographs at the Getty Center.
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GOOGLE ARTS & CULTURE
Ishiuchi Miyako: Postwar Shadows
Discover the groundbreaking work of Ishiuchi Miyako, whose photographs powerfully fuse the personal with the political. Her remarkable career has greatly impacted the history of postwar Japanese photography, and has notably influenced subsequent generations of Japanese women.
Contemporary Voices in Asian American Photography
Six artists share insights about their experiences making photographs. Reflecting diverse approaches and motivations, their work ranges from a focus on personal narratives and recording transnational histories, to an exploration of experimental practices.
Radical Whimsy: Victorian Women and the Art of Photocollage
Peruse the pages of two late 19th-century photocollage albums from the Getty collection—an untitled album and the Westmorland Album—to learn about the women who made them and how and why they did so.
A Historic Black Rights Protest
Among the 20,000 participants at this 1850 abolitionist convention, dozens of the attendees had only recently escaped servitude. In this photograph, discover a rare glimpse of a historic call to end slavery.
Early Mexican Photography (Part I)
Early Mexican portraits have much to tell us about the upper echelons of 19th-century society and the competing social and political forces at play during a tumultuous time.
Early Mexican Photography (Part II)
In Part II of Early Mexican Photography, we will further explore the collection of Mexican daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes assembled by Graham Pilecki and acquired by the Getty Museum in 2015.
STUDY ROOMPhotographs in the collection that are not on display are available for viewing in the Photographs Study Room, which is open by appointment on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to researchers, students, and the interested public.
Please note: The photographs you wish to examine may be on loan and not available for viewing. Therefore, before making an appointment, please contact us to discuss your area of interest.
To investigate the nature of our holdings:
- Browse photographs in the collection database.
- Consult the book Photographers of Genius at the Getty.
- Consult a list of all makers whose work is represented in the collection (PDF, 13 pp., 222 KB).
The Study Room is closed the month of August and the week between Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
ORDERING IMAGESDigital images of many public domain photographs in the collection are available for download, without charge, under the Getty’s Open Content Program.
Open content images may be used for any purpose; no permission is required.
To request permission to reproduce all other images from the Museum's collection, please see Ordering and Reproducing Images.
PAPER CONSERVATIONThe Department of Paper Conservation is responsible for the preservation of the Getty Museum’s collections of photographs, drawings, and manuscripts.
SUBMISSIONS REVIEWThe Department of Photographs does not review individual portfolios or accept unsolicited artist submissions.
APPRAISALSMuseum staff are prohibited from offering appraisals, valuations, or authentication of works of art. These should be carried out by a certified appraiser or reputable auction house.
In accordance with IRS regulations governing charitable institutions such as the J. Paul Getty Museum, curatorial staff may not advise on the value of donations to the Museum collection for tax purposes. However, they can make objects available for appraisal upon the donor’s request.
If a signature is needed for IRS form 8283, the donor should send the form to firstname.lastname@example.org for completion. The registrar will use the date the gift was approved for acceptance into the collection as the date the donated property was received.
James A. Ganz
Senior Curator / Department Head
James A. Ganz
Senior Curator / Department Head