Helen "Patsy" Madeira, whose daughter donated this collection, was born Helen Tyson on May 15, 1916, to Carroll S. Tyson, Jr. and Helen R. Tyson, née Roebling. Helen died suddenly on August 4, 2014. She was the great-granddaughter of John A. Roebling, the designer and builder of the Brooklyn Bridge. While living, she and her husband, Louis C. Madeira IV, were active in various committees at the Philadelphia Art Museum, including the Painting and Sculpture Committee (1975-1978), the European Painting and Sculpture Committee (1986-1987 and 1990) and the Women's Committee (1975-1976). Louis Madeira was also an Associate Decorative Arts curator from 1948-1963.
Patsy's father, Carroll S. Tyson, Jr., was an avid painter and a large supporter of the arts. Many of his paintings are now in the collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and many other museums and institutions have been known to showcase his pieces, such as the David David Art Gallery, The Whitney Museum of Art, and the Woodmere Art Gallery.
The Tyson-Madeira family owned many priceless pieces of artwork, including Vincent van Gogh's "Sunflowers," Renoir's “Bathers,” and even some smaller well known artist's work such as original sketches from “Fantasia” by Walt Disney. Many museums around the world such as the Louvre in France, the Grand Palais in Paris and The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts in Texas vied for the family’s attention. Many of their paintings were loaned to these institutions; the family was generous with their collections. Many of these transactions can be traced in the Art Documentation Series.