MALIBU, Calif. (AP) _ The J. Paul Getty Museum will add Pierre-Auguste Renoir's ''The Promenade'' to its collection after bidding $17.7 million at a London auction, the California museum announced.

The French Impressionist's oil painting, which depicts a man and a woman out for a stroll, was included in artwork held by the British Rail Pension Fund sold Tuesday night at Sotheby's. The pension fund bought artworks during the 1970s as investments.

''We are overjoyed to have the picture,'' Museum Director John Walsh said in a statement. ''It is one of Renoir's most delightful works, and it comes from a great moment in the history of painting.''

The price was more than twice Renoir's record $8.8 million set last May for a painting called ''Motherhood, or Woman Walking with her Child,'' and far more than ''The Promenade's'' estimated value of $7.5 million. It also was the seventh highest price ever paid for a painting at auction.

With a $2.1 billion endowment from the late oil baron J. Paul Getty, the Mailbu museum is the richest art institution in the world.

''It's a beautiful painting and a great acquisition,'' said Philip Conisbee, curator of European paintings and sculpture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. ''Although it is terribly expensive, I think it is a relatively good value.''

The Getty's collection of Impressionist and other 19th century works includes Jean Francois Millet's ''Man With a Hoe,'' Claude Monet's ''Still Life with Flowers,'' Edvard Munch's ''Starry Night'' and Paul Cezanne's ''Portrait of Anthony Valabregue.''