Archivio Luisa Vertova

Reference code



Luisa Vertova.


Ex convento di Santa Cristina, second floor (Fondazione Federico Zeri).




55 folders

archive document photograph


Documents and photos are kept in folders, in alphabetical or thematic order. The arrangement given by the art historian has been maintaned.

Scope and content

The archive consist of about 5000 items of which more than 4000 paper documents (including letters, typewritten press releases, press cuttings, postcards, memo) and 772 photographs (gelatin silver prints and negatives). A collection including 16 books, 10 catalogues of exhibitions and more than 135 auction catalogues is related to the archive. The archive has been arranged by the art historian in 2 fonds: a documentary archive (52 folders keeping documents related to Christie’s sales and letters) and a photo archive (3 boxes). Both documents and photos provide outstanding documentation on art market in Italy between early Sixties and mid-Eighties, when Luisa Vertova, art historian and connoisseur, was charged to be Christie’s International Senior Consultant and Old Master Paintings and Drawings Specialist. In particular, the series offer interesting data about the activities and workflow of the italian offices of the company. It preserves unpublished and original information on the works of art sold at Christie's sales or only offered to the auction house by consignors or seller. The archive has a special cultural interest, for information regarding fine arts attributive and collective history or bibliography.


People and organizations

Federico Zeri Roberto Longhi Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz Christie's Steffi Roettgen Borromeo Crespi Borghese Benedict Nicolson Busiri Vici Gerhard Ewald Millard Meiss

Artists, schools, periods

17th century Leonardo da Vinci Renaissance 15th century 16th century neoclassicism 18th century 19th century Romanticism Titian Domenico Morelli Francesco Hayez Andrea Mantegna Bernardino Licinio Antonio Canova

Genres and themes

Christian iconography painting mythology portrait landscape art sculpture drawing manuscript jewellery

Other contents

archives history of art old master art history Codex Leicester

History of collection

The oldest documents date back to the early 1960s when Vertova took up employment as Specialist at Christie’s International. Most of the documentation was produced in the 1970s, only a residual part of documents was accumulated after 1984, when the scholar left her position at the auction house. In March 2018 Vertova and her daughter Vanessa Nicolson settled to donate the archive to the Federico Zeri Foundation.


donation. 2018.



Finding Aids

The Federico Zeri Foundation has compiled a census of the entire collection which offers a description of documentary materials, photographs, books and auction catalogues. This tool provides also information about the location of files and their hierarchical relationship, their formal titles, type and number of items included.



Online resources

archival description and inventory

archivists say

The archive offers important information concerning the european art market during the second half of the Twentieth century.