The Panza Collection is entirely a couple's affair. When my wife Giovanna and I discover works by a new artist, I look at her and she looks at me. I can see in her eyes if she wants to buy or not. So even between my wife and me, "looking" is a issue.

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In order to build up his professional training, Giuseppe travels to Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba, Canada and the United States (1953-1954).

As a music lover, Giovanna leaves classical studies to devote herself to the piano under tutelage of Maestro Alberto Mozzati in Milan. She then interrupts her studies in music to marry Giuseppe, share his cultural interests and raise their five children.


Marriage of Giuseppe and Giovanna in Milan (July).

Regular visits to Milanese art galleries like Apollinaire, Ariete, Blu, Il Milione and Il Naviglio.

First purchase of two artworks by Atanasio Soldati, among which A destra in alto (l’uccello azzurro), 1948, from Guido Le Noci’s Apollinaire Gallery (1955); other paintings by Gino Meloni will follow (from 1956).

The exhibitions organized at the gallery in 1955-59 by Pierre Restany, the then critic of Nouveau Réalisme, foster an international context for the collection with works by Luis Feito, French artists René Laubies, Claude Bellegarde, Camille Bryen, and Yves Klein’s monochrome proposition.

During the collection’s formative years (1955-1960), the Panzas’ interest in the new art includes Emilio Vedova’s Art Informel, and paintings by Americans Cy Twombly, Philip Guston and Richard Diebenkorn.


Travel to Paris to visit Antoni Tàpies’ solo show at Galerie Stadler, with initial purchase of seminal works, marking the first part of the collection (June 14 - July 13).

After seeing a reproduction of Cardinal (1950) in the magazine Civiltà delle macchine (vol. V, May - June), Giuseppe purchases Buttress (1956) and other canvases by Franz Kline from Sidney Janis Gallery in New York.

The exhibition Arti Primitive is influential in shaping the future collection of African and Pre-Columbian art (Franco Monti Gallery, Milan, October - November).

Giuseppe’s first writing on his collecting activity is published in the magazine I 4 Soli (La pagina del collezionista, IV, 6, November - December 1957, pp. 12-13).


The couple begins transferring part of the collection from their apartment in Milan to the Villa in Varese.

Visit to the Milanese venue of the exhibition The New American Painting organized by the International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, New York (June 1958).

Giuseppe acquires a painting by Tàpies at the XXIX Venice Biennial, where he also sees Mark Rothko’s artworks. He is portrayed by photographer Ugo Mulas with Restany and Le Noci in Licini’s room. Purchase of other works by Tàpies from galleries La Tartaruga, Rome and Martha Jackson, New York.

Travel to Leverkusen for Jean Fautrier’s solo show at the Städtisches Museum (November 11 - December 30). The Panzas would gather a total of six paintings by the artists dating from 1943 to 1947.

Giuseppe meets composer John Cage, who arrives in Milan in November and informs him about the work of Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns.


First contact with New York gallerist Leo Castelli is established with regard to Rauschenberg. Giuseppe visits the artist’s solo show at Plinio de Martiis’ gallery La Tartaruga (May); on the occasion of Documenta in Kassel he is deeply impressed by Kickback (1959) and begins an in-depth collecting of the artist’s combine paintings (July 11 - October 11).