Art by Cézanne, Monet, Picasso Part of $500 Million Gift to L.A. Museum


The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) announced a historic bequest of 47 Impressionist and Modernist works of art today. The $500 million gift of European art came from the private collection of a Hollywood executive.

The artworks gifted to the LACMA are from 23 masters including Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Pablo Picasso and Fernand Léger. The phenomenal present, which is more than four times the size of any previous gift to LACMA, came from the collection of A. Jerrold “Jerry” Perenchio, former chairman and chief executive of Univision Communications.

Perenchio spent 30 years amassing a distinguished private collection. Highlights include three significant paintings by Monet, including one of his water lilies canvases, Nymphéas; a still life, Asters, and one of his four renditions of Le Jardin de l-artist à Vétheuil. There are two mid-career pieces by Degas, Au Café Concert: La Chanson du Chien and Pendant le Repose. There are also three paintings by Camille Pissarro, two pieces from Léger, two by René Magritte and many more significant artists of the past150 years.

The announcement about the gift comes the day after a unanimous voice by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to support the museum’s plans for a new building that will replace four of the seven current museum buildings. The planned expansion will involve a 410,000-square-foot facility that will traverse Wilshire Boulevard south of the current museum buildings. The new facility, designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, is expected to be funded with $125 million in public funds and $475 million in private contributions. The museum hopes Perenchio’s gift will help inspire other donors to help LACMA amass the $475 million.

While awaiting a permanent home, some of Perenchio’s works with go on display at LACMA next spring. Their debut will coincide with the museum’s 50th anniversary.

A native of Fresno, Calif., the 83-year-old Perenchio had been in the entertainment industry for decades and wanted to give back to Los Angeles for his success there. After attending UCLA and serving in the Air Force, Perenchio became a Hollywood talent agent. He later joined Normal Lear and Bud Yorkin at their Tandem Productions firm, where they produced such hit TV shows as All in the Family, Maude and Sanford and Son as well as the movie Blade Runner. He later produced Driving Miss Daisy with the Zanuck Company and Frida with his wife. Perenchio reportedly netted $1.1 billion in 2007 from the $13.7 billion sale of Univision, the Spanish-language television network, he ran and owned a share of since 1992.

Located next to the La Brea Tar Pits in the mid-Wilshire area, LACMA is the largest art institution in the western U.S. The L.A. museum has a diverse collection includes more than 120,000 art objects ranging in time from antiquity to contemporary works and will soon include part of a $500 million gift of Monet, Cézanne, Picasso and other impressionist/modernist masters. The museum also has large holdings of Asian, Latin American and Islamic art. The museum is open six days a week and closed on Wednesdays.

By Dyanne Weiss

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Wall Street Journal
Photo of Claude Monet. Nymphéas, courtesy Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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