collector’s profile

photo basel – collector’s profile 1.0


This year marks the start of a new series of special exhibitions called “collector’s profile”.

These series of “collector’s profiles” will put an emphasis on private collections that have photography at their cores - at photo basel, an extract of the key pieces will be exhibited during the duration of the fair.


As this years marks the premiere, we are especially proud to welcome and host the private collection of Swiss Collector Claudio Righetti on the artist Mario Giacomelli.


The Righetti Collection at photo basel

Mario Giacomelli – Revisiting an Exceptional Photographer


The Righetti Collection in Bern is one of the most comprehensive and remarkable collections of works by Italian Master photographer Mario Giacomelli (1925 – 2000).

The Righetti Collection aims to reveal a new perspective of Mario Giacomelli by highlighting his working process as well as the coherent structure which pervades his entire oeuvre and constitutes his characteristic style. For Giacomelli, art and life were inseparable, and each cycle of images was developed in close conjunction with the preceding series. 

Since the early 1980s, father and son Leonello and Claudio Righetti have built up the collection, completing it with specific new purchases to this day. The collection comprises works from all stages of Giacomelli’s artistic practice: from early works dating from 1953/54 all the way to lesser-known late works.


MARIO GIACOMELLI – A Photography Icon


Already in his early years as an artist, Mario Giacomelli had developed his own visual language. His unique and distinctive style has set new impulses in photography.

It was in the Italian region of Marche that Giacomelli’s work came into existence, an area that the artist almost never left.

Despite his secluded way of life, Giacomelli was included in the first exhibition of Italian photography in the United States, held in the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY in 1957. There, he presented one of his early works that would become his world-renowned landscape photographs. Until his death in 2000, the landscape remained the central theme in his work.

Lamberto Vitali presented Giacomelli at the Milan Triennale in 1960 and Nathan Lyons curated exhibitions of his works in 1968 and 1969. In the early 1970s, Giacomelli was included by the influential MoMA photography curator John Szarkowski in his seminal publication „Looking at Photographs – 100 Pictures from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art“. In 1975, both Bill Brandt and Mark Haworth-Booth chose works by Giacomelli for their groundbreaking exhibition „The Land“ at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

In the 1970s and 1980s Giacomelli becomes the most important Italian photographer within the international scene. Today, Giacomelli’s images can be found in the collections of the world’s most prestigious museums. In his nearly 50-year-long career, the self-taught Giacomelli became one of the most significant and famous photographers of the 20th century.

Mario Giacomelli Young priests – «I have no hands that caress my face» 1961 – 63 Silver gelatin print Copyright: © Archives Mario Giacomelli – Rita e Simone Giacomelli

Mario Giacomelli
Young priests – «I have no hands that caress my face» 1961 – 63
Silver gelatin print
Copyright: © Archives Mario Giacomelli – Rita e Simone Giacomelli