Miami Beach’s Flamingo Hotel: A President, a Pachyderm, and a Publicity Hound: Photograph Albums From the Wolfsonian Library Collection

Wolfsonian-FIU Library

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It was New Jersey nursery owners and farm machinery suppliers, John Stiles Collins (1837-1928) and his son-in-law Thomas J. Pancoast who first began to clear the mosquito-infested mangrove swamp covering much of the desolate barrier island within sight of the burgeoning town of mainland Miami. But in beginning this transformation, Collins and Pancoast aimed to transform the wilderness into a garden of sorts, an agriculturally productive farming community. It was left to automobile aficionado and promoter, Carl G. Fisher (1874-1939) to envision and create a very different future for the island of Miami Beach—a playground for the rich and famous.

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Having made a fortune in the automobile business, Fisher had promoted the first trans-continental highway, and then used his considerable influence to promote the Dixie Highway from Indiana in the North and ending in Miami Beach in the South. Snubbed as “nouveau riche” by the wealthy elites that wintered in…

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Neruda on Modotti

Detail from British Vogue, December 1982.

Detail from British Vogue, December 1982. Photograph from the Norton Museum of Art exhibition.

There are dozens of beautiful faces in the Norton Museum of Art’s current exhibition Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast. Yet, there was something about the couple in the Bruce Weber photograph featured above that stopped in my tracks. And as I leaned over the vitrine I realized the poetic excerpt floating next to the haunting woman was by Pablo Neruda on the occasion of Tina Modotti’s passing. Suddenly I wasn’t in an art museum but a wonderful netherworld that had collapsed time and space to bring together great personages of the twentieth century. Continue reading

Mr. Iommi Goes to Paris

Detail, Godofredo Iommi: Morincoux, September 1962. Printed in Ailleurs 1 (1963), 18. Ailleurs 1 (1963), 18.

Detail, Godofredo Iommi: Morincoux, September 1962. Printed in Ailleurs 1 (1963), 18.

The past 24 hours have been a frenzy of amazing discoveries about Godofredo Iommi’s time in Europe. Until I fell down this rabbit hole I frankly doubted its existence. Godo’s time in Europe—ca. 1959 to ca. 1964—is not well-documented; hence my estimates regarding his departure and return. But using the tidbits I did know (friendship with Carmelo Arden Quin, long stay in Paris, prolific writing tendencies) I was confident I would find something.  Continue reading

Research Free Chile

The latest issue of La Panera, one of my favorite Chilean art magazines, features Nemesio Antúnez, one of my favorite Chilean art historical figures. But this post isn’t about art history but rather an unsexy, unsung, yet critical element within this discipline: research. I love research. As an art historian in the twenty-first century, I have an unparalleled amount of sources. Of course, there’s always old faithful: the library. Full of dusty pages, broken spines, crowded reading rooms, and misplaced books. But for this dissertation I’m keeping it mostly digital.  Continue reading