The Minimalist Medici: Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, 1923-2010, by Ruth Ann Fredenthal,, June 18, 2010

Installation view of Salotto – Villa Panza Museum, Varese, Italy
(l to r) Ruth Ann Fredenthal, Untitled 130, 1987-1988
Multilayered oil on Oyster linen, 60 x 60 inches
Ruth Ann Fredenthal, Untitled 121, 1984-1985
Multilayered oil on Oyster linen, 66 x 60 inches
The Panza Collection (Photo: David Sotnik)

Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, 1923-2010

“Most people who have any interest in Post-War American art, whether Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Environmental Art, Conceptualism or Monochromism have heard of the great Italian art collector, Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo. In many ways a modern day Medici, Count Panza passed away at age 87 in Milan on April 24, 2010.

Together with his wife, Giovanna, and with enormous love, courage, forsight and brilliance, the Panzas amassed three distinct collections totaling 2500 works from the mid -1950′s to the present, mostly of American art. They mostly liked to acquire in depth from mature artists who were as yet not well known but would later be recognized as the major artists of their era. These included such figures as Franz Kline, Mark Rothko, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, Roy Lichtenstein, Carl Andre, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Robert Irwin, Brice Marden, Richard Serra, Dan Flavin, Robert Ryman, Joseph Kosuth, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Cy Twombly, Richard Long, Lawrence Weiner, James Turrell, Roni Horn, Martin Puryear, Lawrence Carroll and many many others. The Panzas were, in fact, the first major collectors of these artists and signaled to others that these artists were important. Their vast acquisitions influenced American and world art history and art markets profoundly, as well as enhancing the collections of several American museums such as the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Hirshorn…”