Walter Hubert Annenberg (March 13, 1908 – October 1, 2002) was an American businessman, investor, philanthropist, and diplomat. Annenberg owned and operated Triangle Publications, which included ownership of The Philadelphia Inquirer, TV Guide, the Daily Racing Form and Seventeen magazine. He was appointed by President Richard Nixon as United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom, where he served from 1969 to 1974.
Annenberg was born in Milwaukee and raised in New York. He attended the Wharton School, the business school at the University of Pennsylvania, though he dropped out to pursue stock investing. His father, Moses Annenberg, was convicted of tax evasion and incarcerated for two years. During that time, and following his father's death in 1942, Annenberg took control of the Inquirer, expanding its influence and his own. He built up his family's magazine business with great success, extending it into parts of the media industry such as radio and television.
During his tenure as U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, he developed a close friendship with Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the royal family. After initial perceived missteps, he came to be admired for his dedicated work ethic, his wife's lavish entertaining, and personal gifts to support patriotic British causes, such as the restoration of St. Paul's Cathedral in London. He also paid for the renovation of Winfield House, the American ambassador's residence.
In his later years, Annenberg became one of the most prominent philanthropists in the United States. He established the Annenberg Foundation in 1988 and personally gave over $2 billion to educational establishments and art galleries, including both the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in Los Angeles. At Sunnylands, his 220-acre estate near Palm Springs, California, he entertained royalty, presidents and other celebrities; it is now a museum and retreat center dedicated to furthering the Annenbergs' legacies.
|United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom|
April 29, 1969 – October 30, 1974
|Prime Minister||Harold Wilson|
|Preceded by||David K. E. Bruce|
|Succeeded by||Elliot Richardson|
|Born||March 13, 1908|
|Died||October 1, 2002 (aged 94)|
|Resting place||Sunnylands, Rancho Mirage, California|
|Children||2, including Wallis|
Rancho Mirage, California
Officier of Legion of Honour
Presidential Medal of Freedom (1986)
Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1976)
Knight of Order of St. Gregory the Great
Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service (1988)
Linus Pauling Medal for Humanitarianism
Walter Annenberg was born to a Jewish family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on March 13, 1908. He was the only son of Sadie Cecelia née Freedman (1879–1965) and Moses "Moe" Louis Annenberg, who published the Daily Racing Form and purchased The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1936. Annenberg was a stutterer since childhood.
He had seven sisters, whose names were Diana Annenberg (1900–1905), Esther "Aye" Annenberg Simon Levee (1901–1992), Janet Annenberg Hooker (1904–1997), Enid Annenberg Haupt (1906–2005), Lita Annenberg Hazen (1909–1995), Evelyn Annenberg Jaffe Hall (1911–2005), and Harriet Beatrice Annenberg Ames Aronson (1914–1969).
The Annenberg family moved to Long Island, New York, in 1920, and Walter attended high school at the Peddie School in Hightstown, New Jersey, graduating in 1927. He dropped out of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, never attaining a college degree. While in college, he was a member of Zeta Beta Tau, a traditionally Jewish fraternity.
Annenberg was greatly affected by tax evasion charges and other scandals involving his father in the 1930s. A significant part of his adult life was dedicated to rehabilitating the family's name through philanthropy and public service.
After his father's death in 1942, Annenberg took over the family businesses, making successes out of some that had been failing. He bought additional print media as well as radio and television stations, resulting in great success. One of his most prominent successes was the creation of TV Guide in 1952, which he started against the advice of his financial advisors. He also created Seventeen magazine. During the 1970s, TV Guide was making a $600,000 to $1,000,000 profit per week.
While Annenberg ran his publishing empire as a business, he was not afraid to use it for his political purposes. One of his publications, The Philadelphia Inquirer, was influential in ridding Philadelphia of its largely corrupt city government in 1949. It campaigned for the Marshall Plan following World War II. and attacked McCarthyism in the 1950s.
In 1966, Annenberg used The Inquirer to cast doubt on the candidacy of Democrat Milton Shapp for governor of Pennsylvania. Shapp was highly critical of the proposed merger of the Pennsylvania Railroad with the New York Central Railroad and was pushing the US Interstate Commerce Commission to prevent it from occurring. Annenberg, who was the biggest individual stockholder of the Pennsylvania Railroad, wanted to see the merger succeed (which it did) and he was frustrated with Shapp's opposition. During a press conference, an Inquirer reporter asked Shapp if he had ever been a patient in a mental hospital. Never having been in one, Shapp simply said "no." The next day, a five-column front page Inquirer headline read, "Shapp Denies Mental Institution Stay." Shapp and others have attributed his loss of the election to Annenberg's newspaper.
Even while an active businessman, Annenberg had an interest in public service. In 1953 he became one of the founding trustees of Eisenhower Fellowships. After Richard M. Nixon was elected President, he appointed Annenberg as ambassador to the Court of St James's in the UK. In 1969, under pressure after the Shapp controversy, Annenberg sold The Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, which he bought in 1957, to Knight Newspapers for $55 million. After being appointed as ambassador, he became quite popular in Britain, being made an Honorary Bencher of the Middle Temple on 26 November 1969 and an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 1976.
Annenberg led a lavish lifestyle. His Sunnylands winter estate in Rancho Mirage, California (near Palm Springs), hosted gatherings with such people as President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan, Queen Elizabeth II, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Charles, Prince of Wales, and the family of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Annenberg introduced President Reagan to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and the Reagans often celebrated New Year's Eve with the Annenbergs. President Ronald Reagan named Leonore Annenberg the State Department's Chief of Protocol in early 1981. Sunnylands covers 400 acres (1.6 km2), guard-gated on a 650-acre (2.6 km2) parcel surrounded by a stucco wall at the northwest corner of Frank Sinatra Drive and Bob Hope Drive; the property includes a golf course. The estate continues to be used for meetings and retreats by prominent people.
Annenberg established the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. In 1993, he donated a 100 million dollar check to The Peddie School, the largest donation ever to a school when accounting for inflation. He became a champion of public television, receiving many awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Reagan in 1986, the Linus Pauling Medal for Humanitarianism, the 1988 Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service, was made a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great in 1998, and was named an Officer of the French Legion of Honor.
In the early 1980s, Annenberg also founded the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences at Eisenhower in Rancho Mirage, California. In the mid-1980s, he established the Annenberg Fellowship to Eton College, a one-year fellowship for one US graduating college senior (chosen from a rotating list of US universities including Duke, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, Yale, and others) to spend a year teaching and serving as a cultural ambassador to the famous British boys' school. In 1989, he established the Annenberg Foundation, and 1993, created the Annenberg Challenge, a US$500 million, five-year reform effort and the largest single gift ever made to American public education. In 1993 he and his wife Leonore were awarded the National Medal of Arts. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995.
He sold Triangle Publications (TV Guide, Daily Racing Form and a few other publications) to Australian publishing magnate Rupert Murdoch in 1988 for $3 billion (a record media price at the time), announcing that he would devote his life to philanthropy.
During his lifetime, it is estimated that Annenberg donated over $2 billion. He once said that "education... holds civilization together". Many school buildings, libraries, theaters, hospitals, and museums across the United States now bear his name. His collection of French impressionist art was valued at approximately US$1 billion in 1991 and was donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City upon his death in 2002. In 1990, he donated $50 million to the United Negro College Fund which was the largest amount ever contributed to the organization. He was also a member of the Founding Council of the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford University, helping to raise funds for the Institute's building and library.
In 1995, he received the S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen, one of the Jefferson Awards for Public Service, given out annually by the American Institute for Public Service.
The Annenberg Space for Photography, dedicated to both digital images and print photography, was opened in Los Angeles' Century City in 2009 by the Annenberg Foundation and its trustees. The first exhibit featured the work of John Baldessari, Catherine Opie, Douglas Kirkland, Julius Shulman, Lauren Greenfield, and Carolyn Cole.
In 1939, Annenberg married Bernice Veronica Dunkelman. Bernice was raised in a Jewish family in Canada, the daughter of Canadian businessman David Dunkelman who was known for mass-producing low-cost suits and selling them at a single price of $14 at his chain of 65 retail stores. They divorced in 1950 after eleven years together. While married, Dunkelman and Annenberg had two children: a daughter, Wallis, and son, Roger. Roger committed suicide in 1962; to commemorate his death, Harvard University, where Roger was a student at the time, now has a Roger Annenberg Hall named in his honor.
In 1951, Annenberg married Leonore "Lee" Cohn. Lee was a niece of Harry Cohn, the founder and president of Columbia Pictures. Although of Jewish ethnicity, she was raised a Christian Scientist by her uncle's wife. Despite being born to Jewish families, the Annenbergs were not practitioners of Judaism; they regularly celebrated Easter and Christmas with family and friends.
Annenberg died at his home in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, on October 1, 2002, from complications of pneumonia; he was 94 years old. He was survived by his wife, Leonore (February 20, 1918 – March 12, 2009); his daughter, Wallis; and two sisters, Enid A. Haupt and Evelyn Hall. Including those by his wife's daughters from her first two marriages (Diane Deshong and Elizabeth Kabler), he left seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
David K. E. Bruce
| U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom
Annenberg is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:
Leonore Annenberg (1918–2009), former U.S. Chief of Protocol and former head of the Annenberg Foundation, widow of Walter Annenberg
Sandra Annenberg (born 1968), Brazilian television journalist
Wallis Annenberg (born 1939), American philanthropist
Walter Annenberg (1908–2002), former U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, billionaire publishing magnate, and philanthropistAnnenberg Center for Communication
The Annenberg Center for Communication (ACC) at the University of Southern California promotes interdisciplinary research in communications between the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Viterbi School of Engineering, and the separate USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, also funded by Walter Annenberg.Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania
There are multiple Annenberg Schools. For the communications school at USC, see USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. See also Annenberg (disambiguation).The Annenberg School for Communication is the communication school at the University of Pennsylvania. The school was established in 1958 by Wharton School's alum Walter Annenberg as the Annenberg School of Communications. The name was changed to its current title in 1990.Artis Lane
Born Artis Shreve, Artis Lane is a Black Canadian sculptor and painter who was born in North Buxton, a small town near Chatham in Ontario, Canada, in a community largely populated by the descendants of slaves who emigrated to Canada on the Underground Railroad. At two years old her family moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan where she started developing her interests in drawing and painting. Upon graduating high school, she received a scholarship to attend the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, Ontario. After receiving her degree, she moved to Detroit, Michigan newly married to her husband, journalist Bill Lane. While there, she continued her education at the Cranbrook Academy of Art.
The St. James Guide to Black Artists describes Artis Lane's sculpture as "primarily concerned with portraying what she sees as enduring spiritual truths. These truths are that the growth of spiritual awareness is continuous and that nobody ever arrives at perfection. In addition, spiritual awareness connects humans with a universal force." Her commissions include a series of bronze portraits for the Soul Train Awards, a bronze portrait of Rosa Parks for the Smithsonian Institution and designing the original logo for the Dance Theatre of Harlem. She has made sculptures of prominent people as former President George H. W. Bush, Bill Cosby, Walter Annenberg, Michael Jordan, Gordon Getty, Nelson Mandela and Henry Kissinger. The National Congress of Black Women commissioned Lane to create a bronze bust depicting women's-right advocate and abolitionist Sojourner Truth. The bust was unveiled on April 28, 2009 by First Lady Michelle Obama for permanent display in the Emancipation Hall at the Capitol Visitor Centre. The Women's Caucus for Art, making Truth the first black woman to be honoured with a bust at U.S. Capitol. Lane was honoured in 2013 as recipient of the Women's Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award.Daily Racing Form
The Daily Racing Form (DRF) (usually just referred to as the Racing Form) is a tabloid newspaper founded in 1894 in Chicago, Illinois, by Frank Brunell. The paper publishes the past performances of race horses as a statistical service for bettors on horse racing in North America.In cooperation with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, the Daily Racing Form selects the winners of the annual Eclipse Awards.
In 1922, the DRF publishing company was sold to Moses Annenberg's Triangle Publications, which would eventually be owned by Walter Annenberg. The Daily Racing Form currently is owned by Z Capital Partners, and is based at 708 3rd Avenue in New York City.
Notable DRF employees have included publisher emeritus Steven Crist, a former editor of the Harvard Lampoon and a reporter and columnist for The New York Times, cartoonist Pierre Bellocq (a.k.a. Peb), columnist Joe Hirsch, and longtime business manager Louis Iverson. Iverson reported to Annenberg for most of his tenure and was described as a manager who "threw nickels around like they were manhole covers".The Daily Racing Form currently publishes 30 editions daily.Ernest J. Wilson III
Ernest James Wilson III (born c. 1948) is an American scholar. Wilson was the Walter Annenberg Chair in Communication, and Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication (USC Annenberg) at the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, California from 2007-2017. He stepped down as dean in June 2017 and was succeeded by Willow Bay. Dr. Wilson is the founder of USC Annenberg's Center for Third Space Thinking, which is devoted to research, teaching and executive education on soft skills in the digital age. Through the Center, Dr. Wilson's most recent research focuses on critical workforce competencies and talent and skills development in the 21st Century. As a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, he currently is writing a book on utilizing competencies via the framework of Third Space Thinking.Gaeton Fonzi
Gaeton Fonzi (October 10, 1935 – August 30, 2012) was an American investigative journalist and author known for his work on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He was a reporter and editor for Philadelphia magazine from 1959 to 1972, and contributed to a range of other publications, including The New York Times and Penthouse. He was hired as a researcher in 1975 by the Church Committee and by the House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations in 1977, and in 1993 published a book on the subject, The Last Investigation, detailing his experiences as a Congressional researcher as well as his conclusions.Geoffrey Cowan
Geoffrey Cowan is an American lawyer, professor, author, and non-profit executive. He is currently a University Professor at the University of Southern California, where he holds the Annenberg Family Chair in Communication Leadership and directs the Annenberg School's Center on Communication Leadership & Policy. In 2010, Cowan was named president of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, a position he held until July 2016. In this role, Cowan was commissioned with the task of turning the 200-acre estate of Ambassador Walter Annenberg and his wife Leonore into "a venue for important retreats for top government officials and leaders in the fields of law, education, philanthropy, the arts, culture, science and medicine." Since Sunnylands reopened in 2012, Cowan has helped to arrange a series of meetings and retreats there. In 2013-14, President Barack Obama convened bilateral meetings at Sunnylands with President Xi Jinping of China and with King Abdullah II of Jordan.
In 2016, President Obama hosted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the site, where they released the Sunnylands Declaration. Prior to his time at Sunnylands, Cowan was appointed by President Bill Clinton as Director of Voice of America.Hall Sapphire and Diamond Necklace
The Hall Sapphire and Diamond Necklace has 36 matched sapphires from Sri Lanka which total 195 carats. These sapphires are surrounded by 435 brilliant-cut diamonds that total 83.75 carats. The sapphires are cushion-cut, some of the diamonds are pear-shaped and the others are round cut. The setting is platinum.It was designed by Harry Winston, Inc.. It is currently on display at the National Museum of Natural History, part of the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C., alongside the Bismarck Sapphire Necklace and the Logan sapphire. It was donated to the Smithsonian by Mrs. Evelyn Annenberg Hall (c. 1912 – April 21, 2005) in 1979. She was the sister of Walter Annenberg, publisher, businessman, and philanthropist.Leonore Annenberg
Leonore Cohn Annenberg (February 20, 1918 – March 12, 2009), also known as Lee Annenberg, was an American businesswoman, diplomat, and philanthropist. She was noted for serving as Chief of Protocol of the United States from 1981 to 1982. Annenberg was married to Walter Annenberg, who was an Ambassador to the United Kingdom and newspaper publishing magnate. She also served as the chairman and president of the Annenberg Foundation from 2002 until 2009.
Born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles, she graduated from Stanford University. After her first two marriages ended in divorce, she married noted businessman Walter Annenberg, who was appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1969 under President Richard Nixon. In her role as the ambassador's wife, Leonore directed a major renovation of the ambassador's official residence. The Annenbergs contributed to Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign and upon his inauguration, Leonore was named Chief of Protocol, placing her in charge of advising the president, vice president, and Secretary of State on matters relating to diplomatic protocol.
The Annenbergs became major philanthropists, donating money to education facilities, charitable causes, and the arts. Leonore served on many committees and boards as well. After her husband's death in 2002, she continued to donate money and succeeded him as chairman and president of the Annenberg Foundation.Milton Shapp
Milton Jerrold Shapp (June 25, 1912 – November 24, 1994) was the 40th Governor of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania from 1971 to 1979 and the first Jewish governor of Pennsylvania. He was also the first governor of Pennsylvania to take advantage of an amendment to the state constitution lifting the ban on state governors succeeding themselves in office and authorizing them to serve a maximum of two consecutive terms at a time, while still requiring a minimum of four years out of office between any two stints.
.Philadelphia Daily News
The Philadelphia Daily News is a tabloid newspaper that serves Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The newspaper is owned by Philadelphia Media Network, which also owns Philadelphia's other major newspaper The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Daily News began publishing on March 31, 1925, under founding editor Lee Ellmaker. By 1930, the newspaper's circulation exceeded 200,000, but by the 1950s the news paper was losing money. In 1954, the newspaper was sold to Matthew McCloskey and then sold again in 1957 to publisher Walter Annenberg.
In 1969, Annenberg sold the Daily News to Knight Ridder. In 2006 Knight Ridder sold the paper to a group of local investors. The Daily News has won the Pulitzer Prize three times.Rancho Mirage, California
Rancho Mirage is a city in Riverside County, California, United States. The population was 17,218 at the 2010 census, up from 13,249 at the 2000 census, but the seasonal (part-time) population can exceed 20,000. Located between Cathedral City and Palm Desert, it is one of the nine cities of the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area). Rancho Mirage was incorporated in 1973 from a merger of Mirage Cove with five unincorporated areas known as the "Cove communities" (Desert, Magnesia, Palmas, Tamarisk, and Thunderbird), and had 3,000 permanent residents at the time.The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Philadelphia Inquirer is a morning daily newspaper that serves the Philadelphia metropolitan area of the United States. The newspaper was founded by John R. Walker and John Norvell in June 1829 as The Pennsylvania Inquirer and is the third-oldest surviving daily newspaper in the United States. Owned by Philadelphia Media Network, a subsidiary of The Philadelphia Foundation's nonprofit Institute for Journalism in New Media, The Inquirer has the eighteenth largest average weekday U.S. newspaper circulation and has won twenty Pulitzer Prizes. It is the newspaper of record in the Delaware Valley.The paper has risen and fallen in prominence throughout its history. The Inquirer first became a major newspaper during the American Civil War when its war coverage was popular on both sides. The paper's circulation dropped after the war, then rose by the end of the 19th century. Originally supportive of the Democratic Party, The Inquirer's political affiliation eventually shifted toward the Whig Party and then the Republican Party before officially becoming politically independent in the middle of the 20th century. By the end of the 1960s, The Inquirer trailed its chief competitor, the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, and lacked modern facilities and experienced staff. In the 1970s, new owners and editors turned the newspaper into one of the country's most prominent, winning 20 Pulitzers.
The editor is Gabriel Escobar. Stan Wischnowski is vice president of news operations.The Philadelphia Record
The Philadelphia Record was a daily newspaper published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1877 until 1947. It became among the most circulated papers in the city and was at some points the circulation leader.Triangle Publications
Triangle Publications Inc. was an American media group based first in Philadelphia, and later in Radnor, Pennsylvania. It was a privately held corporation, with the majority of its stock owned by Walter Annenberg and his sisters. Its holdings consisted of newspapers, magazines, and radio stations. After nearly two decades of divestiture, it was folded into News Corporation in 1988.
Triangle was formed by Walter Annenberg in 1947 from the assets and properties of the Cecelia Corporation, a company founded by his father, Moses Annenberg, and named for his mother, Sarah "Sadie" Cecelia Annenberg. Cecelia Corporation's assets at the time included the Daily Racing Form, the Morning Telegraph in New York, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. It came to own numerous other publications, including Armstrong Daily; the Philadelphia Daily News; Seventeen magazine; TV Guide magazine; Good Food magazine; and Official Detective magazine; as well as television and radio stations including WFIL AM-FM-TV in Philadelphia; WLYH-TV in Lancaster and Lebanon, Pennsylvania; WFBG AM-FM-TV in Altoona and Johnstown, Pennsylvania; WNHC AM-FM-TV in New Haven, Connecticut; WNBF AM-FM-TV in Binghamton, New York; and KFRE AM-FM-TV in Fresno, California. Triangle owned cable TV operations in various regions including Suburban Cable TV Co. in suburban Philadelphia, Empire State Cable TV Co. in New York, and New Haven Cable TV Co. in Connecticut. It also owned ITA Electronics, a broadcasting equipment manufacturer based in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania; McMurray Printers, a small job press printer in Miami; McMurray Publishing Co., Ltd, which published the Canadian editions of TV Guide; Triangle Circulation, which handled the nationwide distribution of Triangle's magazines, as well as those of other publishers; and Educasting, a developer of educational programming.Wallis Annenberg
Wallis Huberta Annenberg (born July 15, 1939) is an American philanthropist and heiress. Annenberg serves as President and Chairwoman of the Board of The Annenberg Foundation, a multibillion-dollar philanthropic organization in the United States.Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania ( WHAWR-tən; also known as Wharton Business School, The Wharton School or simply Wharton) is the business school of the University of Pennsylvania, a private Ivy League university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Established in 1881 through a donation from Joseph Wharton, the Wharton School is the world's oldest collegiate school of business. Furthermore, Wharton is the business school that has produced the highest number of billionaires in the US.The Wharton School awards Bachelor of Science in Economics degrees at the undergraduate level and Master of Business Administration degrees at the postgraduate level, both of which require the selection of a major. Wharton also offers a doctoral program and houses, or co-sponsors, several diploma programs either alone or in conjunction with the other schools at the university.Wharton's MBA program is ranked No. 1 in the United States according to Forbes and No. 1 in the United States according to the 2020 U.S. News & World Report ranking. Meanwhile, Wharton's MBA for Executives and undergraduate programs are also ranked No. 2 and No. 1, respectively, in the United States by the same publications. According to US News, MBA graduates of Wharton earn an average $159,815 first year base pay not including bonuses, the highest at leading schools. Wharton's MBA program is tied for the highest in the United States average GMAT score of 732 (97th percentile) for its entering class. In general, Wharton has over 95,000 alumni in 153 countries, with notable figures such as Donald Trump, Jeremy Rifkin, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, Sundar Pichai, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Aditya Mittal, Steven A. Cohen, Jeff Weiner, Anil Ambani, John Sculley, Walter Annenberg, Leonard Lauder, Laurence Tisch, Michael Moritz, Ruth Porat, Kunal Bahl, and William Wrigley Jr. II. Its alumni include the CEOs of Google, LinkedIn, The Blackstone Group, CBS, General Electric, Boeing, Pfizer, Comcast, Oracle, DHL, UPS, Pepsi, Time, Inc, BlackRock, Johnson & Johnson, UBS AG, Wrigley Company, and Tesco.Wheat Field with Cypresses
A Wheatfield with Cypresses is any of three similar 1889 oil paintings by Vincent van Gogh, as part of his wheat field series. All were exhibited at the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole mental asylum at Saint-Rémy near Arles, France, where Van Gogh was voluntarily a patient from May 1889 to May 1890. The works were inspired by the view from the window at the asylum towards the Alpilles mountains.
The painting depicts golden fields of ripe wheat, a dark fastigiate Provençal cypress towering like a green obelisk to the right and lighter green olive trees in the middle distance, with hills and mountains visible behind, and white clouds swirling in an azure sky above. The first version (F717) was painted in late June or early July 1889, during a period of frantic painting and shortly after Van Gogh completed The Starry Night, at a time when he was fascinated by the cypress. It is likely to have been painted "en plein air", near the subject, when Van Gogh was able to leave the precincts of the asylum. Van Gogh regarded this work as one of his best summer paintings. In a letter to his brother, Theo, written on 2 July 1889, Vincent described the painting: "I have a canvas of cypresses with some ears of wheat, some poppies, a blue sky like a piece of Scotch plaid; the former painted with a thick impasto like the Monticelli's, and the wheat field in the sun, which represents the extreme heat, very thick too."
Van Gogh had to take time off painting in order to deal with some severe problems due to mental illness in late July and early August, but was able to resume painting in late August and early September 1889. After making a reed-pen drawing of the work, now held by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, he copied the composition twice in oils in his studio, one approximately the same size (F615) and a smaller version (F743). The larger studio version was probably painted in a single sitting, with a few minor later adjustments adding touches of yellow and brown. Van Gogh sketched out the design with charcoal underdrawing; he applied thin paint on the cypress trees and sky, with the ground allowed to show in places, and thick impasto for the foreground wheat and the clouds above. Characteristically, he preferred the brilliant white of zinc white (zinc oxide) for the white clouds rather than lead white, despite its poor drying qualities, with his palette also including cobalt blue for the sky, shades of chrome yellow for the wheat field, viridian and emerald green for the bushes and cypresses, and touches of vermilion for the poppies in the foreground and also synthetic ultramarine. The July "plein air" version was much more heavily worked, and may be considered a study for the more considered September studio painting. He sent the smaller and less accomplished studio version to his mother and sister as a gift.
Vincent sent the larger July and September versions to his brother in Paris later in September 1889. The July version was sold by Theo's widow in 1900 to artist Émile Schuffenecker. It passed through the hands of collector Alexandre Berthier and art dealer Paul Cassirer in Paris, where it was first exhibited and photographed at Galerie Eugène Druet in November 1909. It was sold to banker Franz von Mendelssohn (1865–1935) in Berlin in 1910 and remained with the Mendelssohn family in Germany and Switzerland until it was sold to industrialist Emil Bührle in Zurich in 1952. His son, Dieter Bührle, sold the painting in 1993 to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for $57 million using funds donated by publisher, diplomat and philanthropist Walter Annenberg.
The National Gallery in London holds a similar version painted in Van Gogh's studio in September 1889, bought with the Courtauld Fund in 1923. It is unlined, and was never varnished or waxed. The third smaller version is held by a private collection (sold at Sotheby's in London in 1970; in the US in 1987).
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