04 May 2021


Fotocelere or Compagnia Fotocelere was a photography studio and graphic art and silver bromide photograph printing company in Turin, Italy. It was founded in 1908 by Mariano De Sperati (Desperati) at via Madama Cristina, 26. De Sperati also founded a similar company in Turin, L'Argentografica. In 1910, De Sperati went into partnership with Angelo Campassi at via Marocchetti, 4 to produce commercial photographic art and silver bromide postcards, which between 1917 and 1942 were published under the name Fotocelere di A. Campassi when Campassi was the sole owner of the company. In 1917, after returning from fighting in the First World War, De Sperati revived the L'Argentografica business and began to print postcards. Fotocelere di A. Campassi published real photograph postcards in a wide range of genres, including a large series of Italian film star postcards in sepia or black and white. We selected 15 postcards from the 1910s and early 1920s.

Ileana Leonidoff
Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Turin.

Russian dancer, choreographer, and actress Ileana Leonidoff or Helena Leonidof (1893-?) had a rather short but quite prolific film career in the Italian silent cinema in the late 1910s. Her film debut was the futurist classic Thais (1917). Later 'la Divina Ileana' became an important choreographer, first in Italy and later in South America.

Fernanda Fassy
Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Turin.

Fernanda Fassy (1898-?) was an Italian actress who peaked in Italian silent cinema between 1916 and 1921, first at Pasquali and later on at companies such as Medusa Film and Chimera Film.

Fernanda Battiferri
Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Turin.

Fernanda Battiferri was an Italian actress. She was married to the actor Gastone Monaldi, with whom she did first acted together on stage and later did many films together.

Irene-Saffo Momo
Italian postcard. Fotocelere, Turin.

Irene-Saffo Momo had a short career in Italian silent cinema of the late 1910s and early 1920s. Very little is known about her training and private life, apart from the fact she was one of the actresses trained at Ars Film, a school for film acting in Rome. In 1917 she debuted on screen as Mila, daughter of Jorio, opposite Mario Bonnard as Aligi in the D'Annunzio adaptation La figlia di Jorio (Edoardo Bencivenga, 1917).

Renée Pelar
Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Turin.

Renée Pelar (?-?) acted in three Italian films but wasn't fortunate there. Her first film was Liberazione (Jacques Creusy, 1920) with Mario Parpagnoli, but it was severely condemned by the Italian press, not for its main performances but for its ridiculous story.

Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Turin.

Italian diva Thea / Théa, originally Teresa Termini (born 1898), made her film debut in I Martiri di Belfiore (Alberto Carlo Lolli, 1915), a patriotic and anti-Austrian period piece, set in Mantova 1851.

Vera Vergani
Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino.

Charming and elegant Vera Vergani (1894-1989) was primarily an Italian stage actress, famous for her interpretations in the first stagings of Pirandello’s plays. She became one of the popular divas of the Italian cinema when she appeared in a dozen silent films between 1917 and 1921 for directors like Augusto Genina and Roberto Roberti.

Henriette Bonnard
Italian postcard by Ed. Fotocelere.

Italian actress Henriette Bonard aka Henriëtte Bonnard appeared in 24 silent Italian films.

Alfonso Cassini
Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino, no. 95.

Alfonso Cassini (1858-1921) was an Italian actor of theater and silent cinema. Cassini was a generic and character actor. He began his career in 1876 and over the years he played in various theater companies, including those of Francesco Gervasi Benincasa, Ermete Novelli and Virgilio Talli. From 1912 until his death he also worked in cinema for various companies such as Cines, Etna Film, Italia Ars Film, Itala Film, Tiber Film, and Fert.

Amleto Novelli
Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Turin, no. 96.

Amleto Novelli (1885-1924) was a famous actor in Italian silent cinema, as well in epic and historical cinema as in diva films.

Yvonne de Fleuriel
Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino (Turin), no. 125.

Italian Yvonne De Fleuriel (1889 - 1963) was a singer and actress of variety and silent films. She was very popular during the Belle Epoque.

Anna Fougez
Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino, no. 136.

Anna Fougez (1894-1966) was a vaudeville star who shone on the Italian stage from the First World War to the mid-1920s. She also played in various Italian films.

Soava Gallone
Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Torino, no. 196.

Polish actress Soava Gallone (1880-1957) was one of the divas of the Italian silent cinema. She was married to director Carmine Gallone.

Lucy Sangermano
Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Turin, no. 211.

Lucy di San Germano a.k.a. Lucy Sangermano (1898-?) was an Italian silent film actress who peaked in the late 1910s and early 1920s.

Mary Bayma-Riva
Italian postcard by Fotocelere, Turin, no. 235.

After a brief contract with the short-lived Torino Films in 1912, Mary Bayma-Riva entered the Gloria company in Turin in 1913. Here she acted in major roles as in the comedy of misunderstandings Florette e Patapon (Mario Caserini, 1913), based on the popular boulevard comedy by Hennequin and Veber.

Source: Dumbarton Oaks.

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