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Museums of History and Art of Trieste – Photo Library

Fototeca dei Civici Musei
di Storia ed Arte

Palazzo Gopcevich
Via Rossini, 4

+39 040 675 4549
+39 040 675 4548

Giornalfoto, Horse show - Triest, 31.08.1951 - CMSA NP 133_52760

Established at the beginnings of 1900, currently operative at the third floor of the Gopcevich building, the Museums of History and Art of Trieste Photo Library is a collection, storage and fruition place of one of the most extensive photographic archives of the Region. Its growth over time has determined the establishment of a heritage of great relevance which currently counts almost three millions of negative and positive photographic images of various formats and techniques, a substantial number of typographic prints and postcards, as well as unique images (daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, ferrotypes), stereoscopies that document the story of the three dimensional photography and different age albums. The archive has expanded its collections through its own photographic campaigns and by acquisitions and donations of collections of historical photographic funds, photographers’ and agencies’ archives of the last century.


CMSA OA_021167
Marino Ierman, Cup and saucer with "Chinese Imari" decor Imperial Porcelain Factory, 1804-1805 Hard paste porcelain - digital photo - CMSA F219591

The photographic heritage narrates the evolution of photography, not only from a technical point of view, but also from an expressive one.The images are valuable evidence of the artistic heritage, urban and landscape planning, of major historical events, of public and private ceremonies, of the transformation of social customs, of celebrities and not, tracing the city history from 1840 to the present day.Among the operating 2. photographers in Trieste the following stand out: Wulz, Sebastianutti and Benque, Ceregato, Circovich, Emblemi e Ballarini, Daguerre, Eram, Franceschinis, Ramann, Rieger, as well as photographers like Alinari, Beer, Nadar, Naya. Particularly important are the twentieth century photography archives: Giornalfoto, Adriano de Rota, Foto Omnia of Ugo Borsatti, Alfonso Mottola, Nadia Bassanese, Vinicio Vallon. The Photo Library promotes initiatives designed to spread the knowledge of photographic heritage and awareness of the cultural value of the photographic memory. In act is a project of reorganization that provides the cataloguing, digitalization and preservation of all historical photographic collections.

Twentieth century photographic archives worth mentioning are:

CMSA F_044225
Mino Zanutto Canal Grande - Triest, 1897 - CMSA F44225
CMSA F_011921
Sebastianutti & Benque, Piazza della Borsa - Triest, 1898 - CMSA F11921
Fotoradiottica Trieste, Snowfall and wind - Triest, 18.11.1946 - CMSA F180480

Giornalfoto Archive (1950-1989), purchased by the Municipal of Trieste with the contribution of the Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia, is one of the most complete photographic archives on the history of the city.

Adriano de Rota, Municipal operators - Triest, 1952 - CMSA RO NP 3778_1

Adriano de Rota (1946-1992) and Omnia photo of Ugo Borsatti (1952-1994) Archives, purchased from the CRTrieste Foundation and stored in the Photo Library, so that they could be reorganized and made available to the public, since they document places, people, public and private events of Trieste.
Both de Rota and Borsatti were professional photographers, but also, out of sheer passion, strove to narrate the city, its streets, houses and inhabitants. Urban and human landscapes become images that, once captured by the camera, provide us with a lasting snapshot of life, its relationships and its mutations.

CMSA F_224391
Topical Press, Japan today - Kure, 1945 - silver gelatine print

The USIS Archive(1939-1951), was donated in several times by the Public Reading Room, which was organized after World War II by the Allied Military Government.The Archive was set up to spread the ideals of the American way of life thanks to exhibitions and publications. Through the photographic filter of the USIS – United States Information Service, specific themes were presented: the American way of life (new wealth gained through industry, agriculture and crafts; reinstatement of veterans; social and political organization; progress of 4. medicine and science, racial integration),World War II campaigns in Europe, the Orient (India, Birmania, Japan, China, Pacific Ocean) and in Africa.This archive has a great value in that it testifies to the role of Trieste after the war, at the same time giving the Photo Library an international dimension.

Nadia Bassanese with Tullio Pericoli
Nadia Bassanese with Tullio Pericoli

Nadia Bassanese Archive. It includes about 3,500 photographs and negatives of famous artworks, artists and art galleries owners, such as Bruno Munari,Tullio Pericoli and Leo Castelli.The archive is a testimony of the process of display and editorial design of the Bassanese Gallery from 1983 to 2003. Documents, beside the photographs, allow to reconstruct the modes of display of private art galleries of the city.At the same time, they underline the social role of gallery owners, who had both to divine new trends and to disseminate knowledge and new visual emotions.

CMSA F_ 219591
Marino Ierman, Ursus - Triest, 2.03.2011 - CMSA F219591