Torino was the first Italian city to foster a public collection of modern art as an integral part of its Civic Museum, which opened in 1863. The collections were originally housed with the ancient art collections in a building close to the Mole Antonelliana.In 1895 they were transferred to a building near corso Siccardi (now corso Galileo Ferraris), which had been built years earlier for an art exhibition, and where there they remained until 1942.
After the building’s destruction during the World War II, the current building, designed by Carlo Bassi and Goffredo Boschetti, was erected on the same site and was inaugurated in 1959. The building later became unusable in the early 1980s and was opened to the public again in 1993 after extensive redevelopment.
After the September 1999 renovation project and the reorganisation of the nineteenth century (second floor) and twentieth century (first floor) sections, and following the refurbishment of the bookshop, café and atrium, the video library was also opened to the public: the library is a major asset for anyone wishing to learn about and study art videos and films.
During the redevelopment the exhibition area was expanded, modern facilities were installed and the whole building was made accessible to disabled visitors. Since 2003 the Museum is part of the Fondazione Torino Musei. During the renovation years, extensive conservation and restoration work was carried out on the art collections. The current museum complex comprises galleries for the permanent collection, temporary exhibition spaces and areas for educational activities. GAM houses the art library and photographic archive of the Fondazione Torino Musei, both of which are open to the public.
The museum preserves works by the greatest Italian artists of the nineteenth century, such as Canova, Fontanesi, Fattori, Medardo Rosso and Pellizza da Volpedo and those of the twentieth century, including Balla, Boccioni, Casorati, Modigliani, De Chirico, Martini, Morandi, De Pisis, Fontana. The GAM also possesses important works of the international historical avant-gardes, among these: Klee, Picabia, Picasso, Ernst, Dix, Calder, together with works of the new avant-gardes of the post-war period, through one of the most important collections of Arte Povera, including works by Merz, Boetti, Pistoletto, Paolini, Zorio, Anselmo and Penone. The museum also dedicates ample space to the most current artistic production, from Warhol, to Twombly, to Kiefer, and offers the public a series of appointments with the most interesting exponents of art and major exhibitions of Italian and international artists.