Villa e collezione litta panza
Villa e collezione Litta Panza
Contemporary art has found a home
More than 150 works by contemporary artists are exhibited in the lavish rooms and large stables of Villa Panza, where they fit in perfectly with the sumptuous décor and precious collections of African and pre-Columbian art. Surrounded by a magnificent Italian garden, the Villa is renowned throughout the world for the contemporary art collection that Giuseppe Panza di Biumo started to put together in the 1950s. Built in the mid-18th century and expanded in the neoclassical era by architect Luigi Canonica, the Villa belonged to two noble Lombard families – the Menafoglio and the Litta Visconti Arese – before passing into the hands of the last owner, the aforementioned Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo.
The artwork of one of the world's most important collectors
Initially interested in American abstract expressionism, in 1956 Giuseppe Panza began to acquire works of art that were unknown to the general public. Considered to be one of the most important art collectors in the world, he was among the first to propose innovative exhibition criteria for contemporary art. The works created by leading artists specifically for the Villa are housed in the stables, in the owner's wing and in the service wing. Robert Irwin, Maria Nordman, James Turrell and Dan Flavin – artists who work above all with light, space and perception – were among those who designed installations especially for the Villa.
A garden often painted by 19th-century landscape artists
The Villa is surrounded by extensive grounds, covering a total of 33,000m2, which are set against the backdrop of the city and the pre-Alps. The original – strictly Italian – layout of the garden was softened in the 19th century by the inclusion of some typically English features, creating the romantic atmosphere so beloved of 19th-century landscape painters.