Walter and Leonore Annenberg discovered the artwork of José and Tomás Chávez Morado while on vacation in Mexico City in 1967. The Annenbergs were captivated by a 40-foot-tall columnar fountain on the patio of the National Museum of Anthropology that featured a relief designed by José and carved by Tomás. The piece's fusion of modern architecture and ancient symbolism paralleled the design aesthetic of Sunnylands. When the Annenbergs returned to Rancho Mirage, they commissioned Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, the museum’s principal architect, to deliver a half-scale version of the column for Sunnylands. Ramírez Vázquez turned to the Chávez Morado brothers to create this new column, which was installed at Sunnylands in 1968.
Like the original structure in Mexico City, the carved relief adorning the Sunnylands column depicts the history of Mexico, from its Mesoamerican past and independence from colonial rule to a postrevolutionary, thriving and modern Mexico. Walter Annenberg admired the column because of this thought-provoking depiction of Mexico’s fascinating history.