Fondazione Merz


The library specialises in the history and criticism of modern and contemporary art. The unusual feature of its reading and consultation room, located on the first floor that was once an integral part of the exhibition itinerary, is the fact that it overlooks the space below, forming a constant dialogue with the exhibition space.

Alongside the library there is the Archivio Merz, the main purpose of which is to gather together, order and conserve any documentation relative to Mario and Marisa Merz.
Both serve a public of specialists, researchers and students.

Established in 2007 on the basis of texts already belonging to Mario and Marisa Merz and thanks to the donation of the Marcello Levi collection, the library opened to the public on 27 March 2008 and has expanded through donations, bibliographic exchanges – implemented in collaboration with approximately 100 libraries belonging to Italian, European and worldwide institutions and museums – and further acquisitions.

The bibliographical holdings consist principally of the Marcello Levi collection (1922-2014). One of the greatest collectors of works of art in Italy, he was among the first collectors of works by the Turinese artists of the Arte Povera movement. In the 1960s, he contributed to the creation of the Deposito d’Arte Presente, a space for the production and display of new art of Turin, but also dedicated to experimentation in the field of visual arts, music and theatre. He was also secretary of the Associazione Torinese degli Amici dell’Arte contemporanea.
This important donation consists of about 4200 volumes belonging to his private library: texts of art history, in particular modern and contemporary, catalogues of personal and collective exhibitions, periodicals and auction catalogues. There are also a large number of leaflets, and in particular invitations to exhibitions from the 1960s and 1970s. Moreover, the holding contains some dozens of artist’s books, rare books or with dedications by the artists to Marcello and the Levi family.

Since 2016, the Fondazione Merz has expanded with the arrival of two other important donations of books, now catalogued, and added to the open-stack collection:

The Sergio Ariotti donation: the donation consists of volumes of art history, essays, catalogues of personal and group exhibitions, especially in Turin and Piedmont (220 volumes).

The Lorenzo Bravetta donation: this is a holding consisting of photographic volumes, catalogues of Magnum Photos, texts about some of the greatest photographers in history, monographs and exhibition catalogues from Italy and around the world (approximately 150 volumes).

The Luca Beatrice donation: texts of contemporary art history, catalogues of young artists from Italy and abroad, catalogues of group exhibitions, texts (approximately 400 volumes).

Currently the library counts approximately 8,000 books and documents, including volumes, leaflets, periodicals, CDs and DVDs.

The Library of the Fondazione Merz is part of the Coordinamento delle Biblioteche Speciali e Specialistiche di Torino (CoBiS) (a grouping of specialised libraries in Turin).

Services for the public

The catalogue of the library’s holdings can be consulted online at the following links: Librinlinea – Strumento di ricerca del Polo piemontese and OPAC SBN – Catalogo del Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale.

In the library, users may study, browse the books on the open stacks, undertake bibliographic searches, and query online catalogues from the multimedia stations at their disposal. The use of PCs and personal mobile devices for motives of study, research and documentation is permitted. A Wi-Fi connection is available.

No external borrowing is allowed. Photocopies and scans for study, research and didactic activities can be made (in conformity with current legislation covering copyright and on the basis of the state of conservation of the material involved. A document delivery (DD) service is available to requesting libraries.

Reference and bibliographical research support services are undertaken upon request.

The library is located on the first floor.

Opening times:

  • Wednesday: from 2pm to 6pm
  • Thursday: from 2pm to 6pm
  • Friday: from 9.30am to 6pm
  • first Saturday of each month.: from 2pm to 6pm


To request an appointment to the Reference Room please send an email to