Historical Archive

The historical archive keeps the stuff related to the organization and to the two previous societies, the Società per le Belle Arti (1844-1883) and the Società dell’Esposizione Permanente di Belle Arti (1870-1883), whose union enabled the Società per le Belle Arti ed Esposizione Permanente’s birth, recognized as artificial person by King Umberto I (Royal Legislative Decree of 22nd September 1884).
It consists in a considerable property, partly unpublished, that ranges from 1844 to nowadays and that includes various significant funds* for the scholars.
Above all: the documents related to the Società per le Belle Arti’s purchase campaigns during the annual exhibitions in Brera with the choice by lot of the works bought among the associates and the following foundation of important public and private collections; the flourishing and almost totally unpublished expositive activity of the Società per l’Esposizione Permanente in the areas of the senate building, which was born with the aim of providing young artists (above all Lombard artists) with a place where they could show and sell their works in a period in which art galleries didn’t exist in Milan yet; the fund of the Milanese National Exhibition in 1881,which was a great art exhibition organized for the Italian Industrial Exhibition, where more than 400 art works were sold and thank the proceeds the land, in which the current Permanente’s building lies, was bought; the documents related to the Cinque Giornate monument of Giuseppe Grandi; the documents related to the organizing activity of the art exhibitions and to the other Società per le Belle Arti ed Esposizione Permanente’s cultural activities from 1886 to the present, the correspondence with the associates, with museums and the different public and private realities and local and national one, the press release of the events hosted in the seat and the stuff related to the art collection which developed starting from 1950s.
After the destruction of the building due to bombardments in 1943, arrived to us undamaged documents, which enable the study of the Milanese and Lombard cultural environment from the 19th century on, the reconstruction of the art market, the knowledge of the forgotten artists, to thorough study of the national expositive activity, collecting background information about the most important exhibitions realized in Milan. Besides there is a photographic archive with historical pictures of the building and photos of inaugurations, displays and of works showed in the exhibitions, and a section dedicated to the publications made up of catalogues of the exhibitions organized by Permanente and the periodical about the activities of the organization. The catalogues are available for the scholar interested in the reference or in buying them, while the rest of the considerable documentary property is being reorganized and computerized. The intervention has been arranged following the directives of the archival Government Office in Lombardy.
The archive can be viewed by prior appointment.

*List of the main well-preserved funds:



Luca Cavallini. luca.cavallini@lapermanente-milano.it
Elisabetta Staudacher. archivio@lapermanente-milano.it