The Federico Zeri Foundation archive is comprised of many documents found among the scholar's books and photographs. They are notes on his work, expertises, restoration reports, correspondence with collectors, antiquarians and scholars, pamphlets, extracts from journals or volumes, drafts of articles.
The most precious part consists of 320 typescript expertises, copies that Zeri kept along with his photo archive.
Linked physically to photos and books, this material adds to the information on artworks provided by the Zeri Photo Archive and Library, and supplies data useful in reconstructing a cultural history of the twentieth century.
With support from the Ministry for the Cultural Heritage, Directorate General for Archives
, the Federico Zeri Foundation has designed software enabling individual documents to be described in detail and linked to files on the artworks they refer to. Via the Archive Catalog
users may consult the materials and research into authors, destinees, typology, subject and chronology of the documents. Where of outstanding significance, the descriptive record is accompanied by a digital photo.
In order to help build the archive, the Foundation accepts either copies or original letters, articles, and surveys documenting the research and work of Federico Zeri in
regards to art history and the protection of Italy's cultural heritage. The Foundation is particularly interested in retracing Zeri's correspondence with scholars, collectors,
antique dealers, and institutions.
The donated materials will be archived and cataloged according to international regulations. In protecting the privacy of the donors, they will only be partially accessible when searched via the online catalog.
Correspondence from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
In August 2010 the Metropolitan Museum of Art gave to the Federico Zeri Foundation copy of the original Federico Zeri correspondence kept at the American museum.
The 570 letters range from 1948 to 1988 and afford an extraordinary record of art history and collecting in the second half of the twentieth century.
Among his correspondents we find some of the Italian Renaissance leading scholars such as John Pope-Hennessy, Everett Fahy and Keith Christiansen, curators of the American museum; Elizabeth Gardner, who worked with Zeri to draw up catalogs of Italian painting, and past Metropolitan directors like Theodore Rousseau, James J. Rorimer, Thomas P.F. Hoving, Philippe de Montebello.
The special importance of the correspondence is that it documents, diary-like, the scholar's relations with the museum. These stepped up in the late Fifties when Zeri was appointed to curate the catalog of Italian paintings kept in the Department of European Paintings. The 4-volume catalog would be published between 1971 and 1986.