Skip to main content

The National Portrait Gallery is temporarily closed to the public until further notice.

Menu

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Franco and Amina Belgiorno-Nettis

1991 (printed 2011)
Gary Ede

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 48.4 cm x 60.9 cm, image: 42.5 cm x 50.7 cm)

Franco Belgiorno-Nettis AC CBE (1915-2006), industrialist, engineer and patron of the arts, attended the Turin Military Academy and served in the Italian army in North Africa during World War II. After three years at an allied POW camp in India, he returned to Italy to complete his studies in engineering at the University of Turin. He came to Australia in 1951 as an employee of Italian engineering firm Electric Power Transmission (an off-shoot of Milan-based Societa' Anonima Elettrificazione), which was constructing powerlines. In 1956 Belgiorno-Nettis and a colleague, Carlo Salteri, established Transfield, which became the largest construction and engineering firm in the Southern Hemisphere. In 1959 he funded the Transfield Art Prize, the largest art prize in Australia; fourteen years later, he was instrumental in the foundation of the Biennale of Sydney (he is now credited as its Founding Governor). He was a Trustee of the Art Gallery of New South Wales from 1974. Amina Cerino-Zegna, the daughter of a prosperous northern Italian family, met Franco Belgiorno-Nettis at a dance. Her father, an engineer, approved of the match. In 1951, the couple wed by proxy, with Franco, in Australia on business, represented at the altar of Turin Cathedral by his brother. Joining her husband in Australia, Amina raised their three sons, Marco Belgiorno-Zegna and Luca and Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, born between 1953 and 1959. (In 2000, there was an acrimonious and litigious s split between Marco and the rest of the family; Luca and Guido are now joint Managing Directors of Transfield.) For many years Franco and Amina divided their time between Sydney and Florence. Following Franco's death in Italy in 2006, the family gave $4 million to the Art Gallery of New South Wales for the purchase of contemporary artworks, which are now displayed in a gallery space that bears the family name. Amina is a Governor of the Biennale of Sydney, as is her son Luca.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2011
© Gary Ede

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Gary Ede (age 45 in 1991)

Franco Belgiorno-Nettis AC CBE (age 76 in 1991)

Amina Belgiorno-Nettis (age 76 in 1991)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

Visit us, learn with us, support us or work with us! Here’s a range of information about planning your visit, our history and more!

The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night

Support your Portrait Gallery

We depend on your support to keep creating our programs, exhibitions, publications and building the amazing portrait collection!

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency