The company's namesake and founder, Florian Papp, migrated to New York at the end of the 19th century from Budapest to work as a cabinetmaker and antique furniture restorer. Finding success in this venture, he eventually amassed a collection of European antiques and opened a gallery in 1900.
Florian Papp's gallery was originally located in Chelsea until his two sons, William and Joseph joined him in the 1940s and followed the trends of the New York art world to the 57th Street area. In 1955 along with William's wife Alice, this second generation changed locations again to the current location on Madison Avenue between 75 and 76 Street.
The third generation, Melinda and William Jr. joined in the late 1970s and currently function as co-directors.
Florian Papp discovers quality antiques by examining the collections of antique dealers, private sellers, estates, and auction galleries both in the United States and abroad. Many of the pieces have been in the collection before, chosen by one of the two previous generations. They consider over 1000 antiques a week but rarely buy more than one or two.