From the Gardens to the Gilded Grandeur

Courtesy of Richard Daniels
Permanent Collection Gallery
August 23, 2023 – Jun 9, 2024
Curated by Elvis Fuentes, Executive Director and Sophia Ramirez-Peralta, Coral Gables Museum

The Vizcaya mansion has been the crown jewel of Miami’s Mediterranean-style architecture for over a century. For the first time, this exhibition presents a unique set of black and white vintage photographs taken by renowned American photographer, Mattie Edwards Hewitt (b. 1869 – d. 1956) from the Richard Daniels Collection of Vizcaya. A selection of these photos were published in the July 1917 edition of The Architectural Review magazine, highlighting the gilded glamour that defined Miami’s Golden Age. Hewitt takes the reader step by step through every section of the initial estate. Her images range from stunning Baroque interiors to mesmerizing decorative motifs to dazzling natural exterior scenes. Due to The Architectural Review’s prestige for documenting landmark architectural works, this special edition feature was critical for beginning Vizcaya’s popularity on a global level.

Mattie Edwards Hewitt, Entrance Statue, 1917 (gelatin silver print, 8″ x 10″)

Besides Hewitt’s exquisite suite of photographs, the exhibition also presents watercolors, postcards, and a map of the Vizcaya estate. Acquired from the James B. Fisher Jr. Estate, and other sources, the Richard Daniels Collection provides a unique glimpse into the mansion’s early years. Widely celebrated for his excellent work as Vizcaya’s Chief Architect, Francis Burrall Hoffman was also an artist and created various watercolor landscapes that speak to his appreciation for exquisite architecture. These watercolors help us understand his unique artistic oeuvre that was incorporated into the plans of the Vizcaya estate. In 1934, The Vizcaya Corporation also released a series of postcards highlighting the breathtaking views of the mansion for the public to enjoy. These postcards brought the estate to life in a tangible form to be shared with others and contributed to Vizcaya’s ever-growing international popularity. Finally, this collection presents one of the first printed maps of Vizcaya that showcases the entire estate in all its original glory.

Special thanks to Richard Daniels and Joel Hoffman, Executive Director and CEO, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Thanks to exhibition sponsor