Press RoomPhoenix Art Museum announces landmark gift from the Papp Family Foundation, to include rare examples of Chinese ink painting and naming of the Marilyn and L. Roy Papp Family Gallery

Phoenix Art Museum announces landmark gift from the Papp Family Foundation, to include rare examples of Chinese ink painting and naming of the Marilyn and L. Roy Papp Family Gallery

Feb, 12, 2018

Major GiftsCollectionsAsian Art

Phoenix Art Museum announces landmark gift from the Papp Family Foundation, to include rare examples of Chinese ink painting and naming of the Marilyn and L. Roy Papp Family Gallery

Major gift from the Papp Family Foundation will include funding for the Museum’s collection as well as significant examples of Chinese ink painting on scrolls and fans

PHOENIX (February 12, 2018) – Phoenix Art Museum announces the acceptance of a major gift from the Papp Family Foundation in honor of Marilyn and L. Roy Papp, who were Museum donors, volunteers, and supporters for many decades. The gift includes 22 significant works of Chinese painting from the Papp collection, one of the most prestigious and respected collections of Chinese paintings in the world. Additionally, the gift includes funding to support the naming of the Marilyn and L. Roy Papp Family Gallery in the Museum’s Art of Asia Wing. This gift is one of the largest and most significant donations to the Museum’s Asian arts collection and will directly benefit the Museum’s exhibitions and educational programs.

“We’re deeply grateful to the Papp Family Foundation for their unwavering support of Phoenix Art Museum,” said Amada Cruz, the Sybil Harrington Director and CEO of Phoenix Art Museum. “The Papp family has a long history of championing our museum, and this new gift is incredibly meaningful for us. The foundation’s gift made in honor of Marilyn and Roy’s decades of substantial loyalty and support represents a legacy of generosity that will directly impact our collection, our visitors, and our city for years to come.”

The 22 works have been gifted in honor of Marilyn and Roy Papp and their unprecedented generosity and support of the Museum. The family’s collection of Asian art began when Marilyn and Roy moved to Phoenix in 1978, but they first developed a deep love and appreciation of Asian culture during Roy’s term as the U.S. Director and Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank in the Philippines. Over time, Marilyn and Roy would amass the most significant private collection of Chinese painting in the United States with the guidance of several experts, including Claudia Brown, PhD, then curator of Asian art at Phoenix Art Museum. They made several large gifts to the Museum’s collection during their lifetimes and helped to turn the Museum into an international reference point for Chinese art, one that has been cited in many important books and scholarly research articles in the field.

The works included in this gift include hanging scrolls, hand scrolls, and fan paintings from the 14th through the 19th centuries, all superb examples of ink painting as well as historically significant evidence of the unique documentary nature of Chinese painting. Janet Baker, the Museum’s curator of Asian art, emphasizes the knowledge of imperial Chinese artistic practices that the Museum has gained from gifts from the Papp collection: “From inscriptions alongside images, we know that Chinese artists were acutely aware of their predecessors and often looked to the past for artistic inspiration. This phenomenon was pronounced in imperial China to an extent reached in no other place, and the multiple gifts the Museum has received from the Papp’s collection over the years have helped the Museum to document this important artistic phenomenon.” These works will now join the Phoenix Art Museum’s collection, strengthening the Museum’s ability to share these treasures with the public, provide important loans to other institutions, and continue to serve as an international reference point and repository for researchers.

The second part of the gift involves a gallery in the Art of Asia Wing to be named the Marilyn and L. Roy Papp Family Gallery. The gallery naming is especially apt because in addition to the works they donated, the Papps also dedicated their leadership and organizational expertise to the Museum in multiple capacities. Marilyn was active as a Docent and a member of Asian Arts Council for many years, and Roy served as a longtime member of the Board of Trustees. During his time serving as the chairman of the Board of Trustees in 1989 and 1992, Roy established the Museum’s first planned-giving program, which helped to expand the Museum’s financial sustainability, ensuring its ability to meet the needs of its community.

This gift has been made by the Papp Family Foundation. Harry, Marilyn and Roy’s son, and his wife Rose have continued Marilyn and Roy’s legacy of generosity and deep involvement in community organizations throughout Phoenix and have both served as board members of multiple institutions for decades. Rose is a past vice chair of the Museum’s Board of Trustees, and Harry serves on the Museum’s Planned Giving Committee.

About Phoenix Art Museum

Phoenix Art Museum has provided access to visual arts and educational programs in Arizona for more than 50 years and is the largest art museum in the Southwestern United States. Critically acclaimed national and international exhibitions are shown alongside the Museum’s permanent collection of more than 18,000 works of American, Asian, European, Latin American, Western American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design. The Museum also presents festivals, a comprehensive film program, live performances and educational programs designed to enlighten, entertain and stimulate visitors of all ages. Visitors also enjoy vibrant photography exhibitions through the Museum’s landmark partnership with the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona. To learn more about Phoenix Art Museum,, or call the 24-hour recorded information line at 602.257.1222.

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