‘Monaco d’Autrefois’ exhibition: Time travel into Monaco’s past

Never-before-seen colour images of Monaco in the 20th century have been resurrected and presented in a new exhibition titled ‘Monaco d’Autrefois’.

The exhibition at Espace Léo Ferré features the work of Jean-Pierre Debernardi and his grandfather, Jean Debernardi, a professional photographer from the early 20th century.

Jean Debernardi left behind hundreds of glass photographic plates that were waiting to be explored. Today, after three years of what the artist describes as a “titanic effort”, the plates have been scanned, restored in black and white, and colourised.

Now, the Monégasque photographer is inviting people to rediscover ‘Monaco d’Autrefois’ (Monaco of yesteryear) through a selection of these vintage photos taken by his grandfather.

Alongside the colour photo, which aims to “transport us and stimulate our imagination”, the original black and white image is also displayed to better appreciate the extent of the work. It’s a project led by a grandson and his grandfather “across ages and generations”.

‘Monaco d’Autrefois’ exhibition, photo by Monaco Life.

“I am feeling nostalgic”

The exhibition has already left its mark on visitors, with one telling Monaco Life: “It’s very beautiful, I am impressed with the quality of the photos.”

It’s not only the photographs that are making an impression, but also the opportunity to journeey back through history, and stop over in different eras. “I think it’s a very good idea, a beautiful opportunity to revisit the past, as I am feeling nostalgic for it,” said another visitor.

The Mairie is proudly hosting the exhibition at one of its communal sites. “Preserving our traditions, our history, and our heritage in all its forms is one of the essential missions of the municipal institution, and Jean-Pierre Debernardi’s efforts align perfectly with this ambition,” said Mayor Georges Marsan.

Multi-faceted exhibition

Jean-Pierre Debernardi has chosen to use this exhibition as an opportunity to showcase the work of Delphine Lanzara, a painter and resident of the Principality. Several of her paintings, employing the palette knife technique and highlighting landscapes of the Principality, are also on display.

‘Monaco d’Autrefois’ is on for a short time only, until 6th October. The free exhibition is open from 11:30am until 7pm, at the Espace Léo Ferré.

See more in our Instagram video below…

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Photo by Monaco Life