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Annenberg's Fabled Sunnylands Estate Topic of Talk at Santa Monica Library
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By Lookout Staff

April 7, 2017 -- Sunnylands, the fabled winter home built by Walter and Leonore Annenberg, whose foundation helped salvage what would become Santa Monica's public beach house, will be the subject of a talk at the Main Library this month.

The talk by the Sunnylands' director Janice Lyle -- whose new book "Sunnylands: America's Midcentury Masterpiece," explores the architecture and history of the estate -- will take place on Sunday, April 23, at 2 p.m. in the Main Library's MLK, Jr. Auditorium.

Picture of Sunnylands
Sunnylands (Image courtesy of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands)

When the Annenbergs built their 200-acre winter home in Rancho Mirage in the mid-1960s they envisioned it as the "Camp David of the West. That they succeeded is borne out by the list of guests.

Eight U.S. presidents have visited the picturesque site, which hosted the meeting between former President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip visited for lunch and Frank Sinatra was married there.

Considered an "undisputed masterpiece" of mid-century architecture, Sunnylands was "once the place to be for celebrities, politicians, and corporate big-wigs looking to meet, relax, or wheel and deal," event organizers said.

The estate has been transformed into a high level retreat center and museum space.

Before joining The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, Lyle -- who has a PhD in art history from the University of California, Santa Barbara -- was the executive director of the Palms Springs Art Museum for 13 years and Director of Public Programs for 10 years.

Her presentation is part of the library's Authors on Architecture series and is co-sponsored by the Society of Architectural Historians/Southern California Chapter (SAH/SCC).

A book sale and signing follows the program, which is free and open to all ages. Seating is limited and on a first arrival basis.

The Santa Monica Public Library is wheelchair accessible. For special disabled services, call Library Administration at (310) 458-8606 at least one week before the event.

The Main Library is served by Big Blue Bus routes 1, 7, R7, R10 and 18 and provides bicycle parking racks.


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