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The Panza Collection

Dr. and Mrs. Panza in his study at the Villa Panza, Varese, Italy, May 24, 2008. Photograph by Alexandra Spaulding.

Giuseppe Panza di Biumo (1923–2010), an Italian real-estate investor, and his wife Giovanna, are among the most widely recognized and important art collectors of American and European art since the mid-twentieth century. Since the late 1950s, when they acquired important paintings by Mark Rothko and Yves Klein, the Panzas amassed a renowned collection of more than 2,500 works in all media that centers on a predominantly Minimalist aesthetic. Throughout his life, Panza ascribed to the firm belief that one must collect artworks because of a love of beauty and his own search for meaning and spiritual integrity. His sense of beauty proved to be quite astute, as many of the artworks the Panzas collected over the years are now iconic examples of the periods they represent. About collecting, Panza has said:

"To be a good collector you have to think a lot, to see a lot, to judge with care, not let yourself be dragged along too much by enthusiasm. One should make decisions slowly and buy what you like. And you need great faith in yourself. I bought artwork against the opinions of everyone."

The Panzas' dedication to collecting artists' work in depth has been shared worldwide through exhibitions of the Panza Collection and the placement of works from the collection in museums including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art, New York; and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The Panza Collection at the Albright-Knox includes 71 works by 15 artists. The works were featured in a 2007 exhibition at the museum—The Panza Collection: An Experience of Color and Light was designed for the museum's exhibition spaces around the theme "color and light," chosen by Panza, and around the use of these elements by artists from the 1960s to the present. Beginning with artworks by pioneers in the use of actual light, such as Dan Flavin and Robert Irwin, this premiere collection traces the historical development of color and light in contemporary art, and illuminates the evolution of the Panzas' philosophic interest in these elements.

Artists in this collection include Anne Appleby, Stuart Arends, Alfonso Fratteggiani Bianchi, Max Cole, Dan Flavin, Ruth Ann Fredenthal, Robert Irwin, Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt, Timothy Litzmann, Winston Roeth, David Simpson, Phil Sims, Robert Therrien, and Anne Truitt.

Related Exhibitions

The Panza Collection: An Experience of Color and Light

Friday, November 16, 2007–Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Long Curve:
150 Years of Visionary Collecting at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Friday, November 4, 2011­–Sunday, March 4, 2012