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Panza (Giuseppe) Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement note
  • Related Material
  • Alternate Form Available
  • Processing History
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights
  • Access

  • Contributing Institution: Special Collections
    Title: Giuseppe Panza papers
    Creator: Turrell, James
    Creator: Tàpies, Antoni, 1923-2012
    Creator: Vedova, Emilio, 1919-2006
    Creator: Weiner, Lawrence
    Creator: Kosuth, Joseph
    Creator: Rothko, Mark, 1903-1970
    Creator: Ryman, Robert, 1930-2019
    Creator: Serra, Richard, 1938-2024
    Creator: Long, Richard, 1945-
    Creator: Tremlett, David, 1945-
    Creator: Wheeler, Doug, 1939-
    Creator: Wilson, Ian, 1940-
    Creator: Morris, Robert, 1931-2018
    Creator: Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Creator: Meloni, Gino, 1905-1989
    Creator: Nauman, Bruce, 1941-
    Creator: Lichtenstein, Roy, 1923-1997
    Creator: Marden, Brice, 1938-
    Creator: Mangold, Robert, 1937-
    Creator: Rauschenberg, Robert, 1925-2008
    Creator: Rosenquist, James, 1933-2017
    Creator: Restany, Pierre
    Creator: Nordman, Maria
    Creator: Nonas, Richard, 1936-
    Creator: Panza, Giuseppe
    Creator: Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-
    Creator: Darboven, Hanne
    Creator: Davis, Douglas, 1933-2014
    Creator: Celant, Germano
    Creator: Charlton, Alan, 1948-
    Creator: Fautrier, Jean, 1898-1964
    Creator: Flavin, Dan, 1933-1996
    Creator: De Maria, Walter, 1935-2013
    Creator: Dibbets, Jan, 1941-
    Creator: Joseph, Peter, 1929-
    Creator: Judd, Donald, 1928-1994
    Creator: Irwin, Robert, 1928-
    Creator: Law, Bob, 1934-2004
    Creator: LeWitt, Sol, 1928-2007
    Creator: Kline, Franz, 1910-1962
    Creator: Fulton, Hamish
    Creator: Cane, Louis, 1943-
    Creator: Bell, Larry, 1939-
    Creator: Barry, Robert, 1936-
    Creator: Andre, Carl, 1935-
    Identifier/Call Number: 940004
    Physical Description: 117 Linear Feet(311 boxes, 58 rolls, 3 flat file folders)
    Date (inclusive): 1956-1990
    Abstract: Collection documents the Italian businessman's activities in collecting works by some of the seminal American artists involved with abstract expressionist, pop, minimal, conceptual, environmental, and light and space art. The archive contains material dating from 1956, when Panza began collecting. up to the sale of the second part of his collection to the Guggenheim Museum in 1990. Panza's art collection is documented by correspondence with artists and galleries, photographs, small drawings, invoices, loan requests, announcements, and invitations. The archive also includes a substantial quantity of Panza's writings on art; papers and ephemera related to Panza's associations with museums, galleries, and cultural institutions; clippings and photocopies of articles about the collection; and an extensive group of architectural drawings of potential sites for the collection, many with Panza's installation designs.
    Physical Location: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language of Material: Collection material is in English and Italian.
    1923 Born March 23rd in Milan.
    1931 Panza's father, Ernesto, purchases Villa Litta, Varese.
    1943 Fled to Switzerland with his older brother to avoid being drafted into the German army.
    1948 Bachelors in Law at University of Milan (never practiced, self-taught in art history). Started working in the family businesses of real estate development and the manufacture of industrial alcohol.
    1955 Married Rosa Giovanna Magnifico (5 children: Giuseppina, Alessandro, Federico, Giovanni, Giulio).
    1956 Inherited family businesses with his brother. Began collecting.
    1957 Acquires first Franz Kline work.
    1959 Begins collecting Robert Rauschenberg's work.
    1962 Purchases works from Claes Oldenburg's "The Store" and by James Rosenquist.
    1966 Acquires works by Robert Morris and Donald Judd.
    1974 Forms Modern Painting Trust (disbanded by 1978) and consummates Mönchengladbach long-term loan agreement for art works of the 1950s and early 1960s.
      Exported works now owned by Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) to Switzerland.
    1975 Düsseldorf long-term loan agreement.
    1976 Because of a new Italian law regarding estates abroad, Panza must decide to either sell that portion of his collection and bring the money home, or bring the paintings back to Italy.
      Basel long-term loan agreement.
      Stopped collecting because of the Italian economic downturn.
      Museum programs begin in earnest with his collection that contains ca. 600 works.
    1978 Negotiations begin with Regione Piemonte about Castello di Rivoli housing the collection.
      Offers his villa to Regione Lombardia.
    1980 Düsseldorf and Basel exhibitions.
    1982 Goes to court over re-importing works from Düsseldorf exhibition that were not specified (to export) in the contract.
    1983 Comune di Varese discusses foundation for potential museum.
    1984 MOCA purchases 50's and 60's works after the Italian government forces Panza to sell the collection and his other programs fail.
    1987 Begins collecting works by new artists (numbers close to 1,500 pieces by 1995).
    1988 Musée Rath, Geneva and Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid exhibitions.
    1989 Musée Saint Etienne and Saint Pierre, Lyon exhibitions.
    1990 Guggenheim purchases and receives through long-term loan and gifts Minimal and Conceptual works collected prior to 1976.
    1992 Exhibition and donation of ca. 200 works to the Lugano museum in Switzerland from Panza's recent acquisitions. Moves to Lugano to be free of Italian governmental restrictions on the collection and archive.
    1994 Donates 70 new works to MOCA.
    2010 Died April 24th in Milan.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Giuseppe Panza Papers document the Italian businessman's considerable activities in collecting contemporary art. Panza collected works by some of the seminal American artists involved with Abstract Expressionist, Pop, Minimal, Conceptual, Environmental, and Light and Space art. The archive contains material from the time when he began collecting in 1956 up to the sale of the second part of his collection to the Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1990. The portion of the archive relating to his most recent acquisitions from 1987 onward, remains in Panza's possession.
    The archive has letters and other materials pertaining to Panza's various art related activities and much about his museum programs. He contacted many museum directors and Italian officials to garner support for his proposals to create museums utilizing works from his collection. Panza's art collection is documented by correspondence with and about artists and galleries, photographs, small drawings, invoices, loan requests, announcements and invitations, that were accumulated by Panza during the acquisition process and throughout his entire ownership period. There is also much ephemera, photographs and some correspondence with artists that Panza did not collect. The archive also includes a substantial quantity of Panza's writings on art; papers and ephemera related to Panza's associations with museums, galleries and cultural institutions; clippings and photocopies of articles on the collection; and an extensive group of architectural drawings of potential sites for the collection, many with Panza's installation designs.
    Indices exist for Series II, III, VIII and Panza's "drawings" collection.

    Arrangement note

    The collection is organized in nine series: Series I. General files, 1956-1990; Series II. Works in the collection, 1959-1990; Series III. Writings, 1956-1990; Series IV. Miscellaneous artists, 1969-1990; Series V. Museums, 1959-1990, bulk 1970s-1980s; Series VI. Galleries, 1959-1990; Series VII. Photographs, ca. 1959-1990; Series VIII. Clippings, ca. 1960-1990; Series IX. Architectural drawings, ca. 1974-1990.

    Related Material

    Seven binders contain photocopies of the index housed in Boxes 156 A-B. The index is an item-level description of everything in Series IIA. Artists. The files are grouped alphabetically by artist and sub-divided into categories of works, miscellaneous personal correspondence, miscellaneous gallery correspondence, announcements and invitations, photographs, works not in the collection (i.e. deaccessioned), shipment and invoice documents and miscellaneous. Each sheet describing an art work is marked in the upper right hand corner with Panza's inventory system of the artist's initials and numbered sequentially and with its corresponding box and folder number. The index was made by Panza's family (see Processing History).
    It should be noted that the titles and dimensions listed in the index for the works now at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) have been updated by that institution's registrarial office. Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) should be consulted for more details.
    A separate binder has photocopies of the indices for Panza's Primitive collection and the clippings series.

    Alternate Form Available

    Sections of Series II.A available in photocopies.

    Processing History

    The archive was extensively organized by members of Panza's family. Giovanni Panza, Panza's son, from 1987-1989 divided all the material according to artist and subject. Giuseppina Caccia Dominioni Panza, Panza's daughter, began in 1989 to check Giovanni's previous work, made files, matched photographs to each work and put all the papers into folders and boxes. In 1990 Cristiana Caccia Dominioni as well as Francesca Guicciardi Panza, daughter in-law of Panza, began helping Giuseppina. Francesca checked all of the physical descriptions of the works of the collection. As of 1995, all three women worked three mornings a week in Lugano on the archive supporting the art Panza currently collects. Lynda Bunting at the Getty Center began physical processing and description of the archive March 1994 and finished May 1995.
    The leather boxes were handmade by the Rilegatoria Conti Borbone di Marchesifirm in Milan. Four empty boxes and some folders have been placed at the end of the collection for replacements.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired from Panza in 1994.

    Preferred Citation

    Giuseppe Panza papers, 1956-1990, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 940004.

    Publication Rights


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Art -- Collectors and collecting
    Art -- Private collections -- Italy
    Art, Modern -- 20th century
    Photographs, Original
    Photographic prints
    Pop art
    Minimal art
    Abstract expressionism
    Architectural drawings (visual works)
    Conceptual Art
    Art patrons -- Italy
    Light in art
    Earthworks (Art)
    Panza, Giuseppe