We have returned from our 1,870-mile anniversary vacation and we practically killed ourselves trying to see everything! But alas, we proved it impossible. We allowed a whole day for each museum but it wasn’t close to being enough. Plan for three solid days at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, and at least two complete days at the Getty Center in Los Angeles–and that is just to see each piece of art for a mere minute. To really see the paintings, a much longer analyzing/examining/admiring time is required. And of course, this doesn’t include all the other attractions both museums have to offer.
In addition to rooms full of famous art, we saw Vermeer‘s Girl with a Pearl Earring at the de Young,
and his Woman in Blue Reading a Letter at the Getty.
Sadly, the de Young did not allow photos of Vermeer’s Girl, or of any other Dutch paintings on loan. The Getty was much less restrictive and allowed photos of Vermeer’s Woman, and virtually all paintings on exhibit. However, the skylights at the Getty were disconcerting at times. It caused some of the paintings to have excessive reflections and made them difficult to see. It wasn’t a huge problem, but worth mentioning; standing farther back from the works helped with this, as did the time of day affecting the angle of the light.
Both museums are much easier to navigate than their online directions suggest. The de Young is slightly more difficult to drive to, and we found the layout a bit more confusing and involved–like a maze you can’t find you way out of–but that was probably because it’s a bit larger than the Getty, and because the Getty is organized by separate buildings in very close proximity to each other, but that serve to break up the collections in a more logical way.
The Getty was very easy to get to and, once there, a tram takes you to the top of the hill and drops you off. The idea of having to use a tram sounded cumbersome at first, but it was so much easier than traffic and cars would ever be, and the parking garage was right at the base of the tram–a very easy and short walk. The Getty is FREE except for a $15 covered parking fee that also covers the tram ride. You honestly can’t lose your way here, even if you try, and the views are wonderful.
I took lots of pictures and will post many of them over the next few days, so settle in for a mini online tour of paintings.
Note: All text in quotes is taken from the Getty or de Young museum placards posted beside paintings.