Art and the Annenbergs

Carved Narrative

Recognized as world-class art collectors, Walter and Leonore Annenberg acquired paintings and sculptures by many renowned artists. Their private collection, some of which is now on display at Sunnylands Center & Gardens, included sculpture by Auguste Rodin, Yaacov Agam, Alberto Giacometti, and others. Their priceless collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, including works by Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Paul Gauguin, were donated to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City upon Walter Annenberg’s death in 2002.

The Annenbergs first brought the artistry of the Chávez Morado brothers to Rancho Mirage in 1968, less than a year after the couple went on vacation to Mexico to see the country’s modern museums and architecture. They returned with the idea of installing a copy of El Paraguas in the entry court of Sunnylands and commissioned a 20-foot, half-scale version of the fountain from the National Museum of Anthropology’s architect, Pedro Ramírez Vázquez. He enlisted the Chávez Morado brothers to create a new column for the Annenbergs’ palatial, Mayan-themed home in the Southern California desert.