Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Giuseppe Panza papers
Date (inclusive): 1956-1990
117 Linear Feet
(311 boxes, 58 rolls, 3 flat file folders)
The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles 90049-1688
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
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Language: Collection material is in English
||Born March 23rd in Milan.
||Panza's father, Ernesto, purchases Villa Litta, Varese.
||Fled to Switzerland with his older brother to avoid being drafted into the German
||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.
||Married Rosa Giovanna Magnifico (5 children: Giuseppina, Alessandro, Federico,
||Inherited family businesses with his brother. Began collecting.
||Acquires first Franz Kline work.
||Begins collecting Robert Rauschenberg's work.
||Purchases works from Claes Oldenburg's "The Store" and by James
||Acquires works by Robert Morris and Donald Judd.
||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
||Düsseldorf long-term loan agreement.
||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
||Negotiations begin with Regione Piemonte about Castello di Rivoli housing the
||Offers his villa to Regione Lombardia.
||Düsseldorf and Basel exhibitions.
||Goes to court over re-importing works from Düsseldorf exhibition that were not
specified (to export) in the contract.
||Comune di Varese discusses foundation for potential museum.
||MOCA purchases 50's and 60's works after the Italian government forces Panza to
sell the collection and his other programs fail.
||Begins collecting works by new artists (numbers close to 1,500 pieces by
||Musée Rath, Geneva and Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid exhibitions.
||Musée Saint Etienne and Saint Pierre, Lyon exhibitions.
||Guggenheim purchases and receives through long-term loan and gifts Minimal and
Conceptual works collected prior to 1976.
||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.
||Donates 70 new works to MOCA.
||Died April 24th in Milan.
Open for use by qualified researchers.
Giuseppe Panza papers, 1956-1990, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no.
Acquired from Panza in 1994.
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
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
Alternate Form Available
Sections of Series II.A available in photocopies.
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
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
A separate binder has photocopies of the indices for Panza's Primitive collection and the
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.
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
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
Subjects - Names
Subjects - Topics
Art -- Collectors and collecting
Art -- Private collections -- Italy
Art, Modern -- 20th century
Art patrons -- Italy
Light in art
Genres and Forms of Material
Architectural drawings (visual works)
Museum of Contemporary
Art (Los Angeles, Calif.)