Villa e Collezione Panza
Here you can find one of the finest and best-known contemporary art collection in the world: Villa e Collezione Panza, which is a wonderful mansion in the heart of Varese and which conjugates ancient splendor with modern art.
The villa was built along the 18th century for the marquise Paolo Antonio Menafoglio to be an estate to rest and to organize parties and events; for this reason, it is U shaped with the court overlooking the garden, in order to create an intimate and private atmosphere.
Around the Villa, a 33.000 square meters English-styled park makes the mansion even more fascinating and it gives the oppurtunity to enjoy some free time surrounded by art and nature: not only trees and romantic spots, but also unexpected surprises given by the project Art in Nature that displays site-specific works created for the park by Stuart Ian Frost, Bob Verschueren and Peter Randall-Page.
You can feel the same amazement inside the Villa, where you can find the contemporary art collection created by Giuseppe Panza di Biumo from the 50s of the 20th century. He was attracted by the new American and European trends, that only some decades later were recognized as art by critics and public: Dan Flavin’s research (here you can see one of the best collections of this American artist), the environmental works by James Turrell, Robert Irwin e Maria Nordman, the monochrome canvases by Phil Sims and David Simpson and works by artists such as Alfonso Fratteggiani Bianchi, Ruth Ann Fredenthal, Max Cole, Maria Nordman, Martin Puryear, Ford Beckman, Ross Rudell, Ettore Spalletti, Lawrence Carroll, Stuart Arends, Allan Graham, Winston Roeth. Moreover, the Villa hosts the works by Wim Wenders, "New York, November 8, 2001, I II III IV V", dedicated to Ground Zero, and, until the end of 2015, James Turrell’s Ganzfeld, as well as Robert Irwin’s Sight Unseen and Varese Scrim (created in 2013).
Apart from the works displayed in the Villa, the works of the Panza Collection are exhibited in the most important international museums: from the Guggenheim Museum of New York to the Museum of Contemporary Art of Los Angeles (MOCA), to the Hirshhorn Museum of Washington D.C., to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery of Buffalo and to the Museo Cantonale d'Arte of Lugano.
This shows the far-sightedness, the artistic sense anf the commitment of Giuseppe Panza di Biumo: thanks to him and thanks to FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano (to which the Villa was given in 1996 and thanks which it was restored and opened to the public in the year 2000) Villa Panza is recognized to be one of the highest cultural experiences of the second half of 20th century.