Monday, June 4, 2012

Workers move equipment into place for removal of the old heavy glass roof over the atrium at Vizcaya that will be replaced with a clearer canopy with a lighter look, part of a general upgrade at Vizcaya that's been ongoing for a couple of years. The roof was controversial when it was installed in the 1980's. May 29, 2012. Walter Michot / Miami Herald Staff
Image 1 of 2

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Vizcaya Skylight Renovation

The construction on the new skylight at Vizcaya has begun. It will last through September. Our Executive Director Joel Hoffman is keeping blog/log on the website of the progress, including time lapse photos.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blue Star Museums

Vizcaya Welcomes Active Duty Military Personnel and their families.

Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment of the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 1,500 museums across America. First launched in the summer of 2010, Blue Star Museums offers free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day, May 28, through Labor Day, September 3, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Antique Postcard Post

Monday, March 26, 2012

Downton Abbey

Highclere Castle as Downton Abbey

I am drawn to Downton Abbey, the BBC Masterpiece Classic, for the same reasons I love Vizcaya.

There is a recent article with PreservationNation that talks about the  "A Pull of Place". I am constantly thinking about how life flowed at Vizcaya during both the building and the enjoyment phases. I think about what Vizcaya has been to so many people since becoming a Museum, engagements, weddings, school groups and Quinceañera.

It is particularly intriguing to think about the fact that the Downton Abbey begin's it's story in the same time period when Vizcaya was being built, 1912. The dress, the customs, and the events of the world would be very similar to what James Deering was living. I am sure Mr. Deering knew some of the people mentioned. Downton Abbey dialog about the Titanic in the first episode mentions the Astors, a member of the Astor family, Robert Winthrop Chanler, created the mural covering the walls and ceiling of the pool grotto at Vizcaya.

Vizcaya's Pool Grotto
Robert Winthrop Chandler, artist of Pool Grotto Wall and Ceiling Mural

It is hard to think of Vizcaya in this time period because the house was designed to look like it was 400 years old and the most of the furnishings was already antique when they were acquired for Vizcaya.

Music Room

The clothes in Downton Abbey is fascinating. I love watching the transition from 1912 through WWI and the reflection of the times and the mood of the country. I wonder if we will start seeing today's fashions influenced by Downton Abbey and the beautiful glamour of the Edwardian period.

Architectural Digest has several articles about Highclere Castle. Owners of Highclere and similar estates talk about what it takes to keep an estate together. Vizcaya as all museum houses constantly works on funding and maintenance. We are currently beginning the replacement of the court yards glass dome.

The couture, the romance, the location, the drama, and the history are all interesting and yet for me it's glimpses of the house and how it was lived in, worked in, entertained in that enthral me.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Inside Vizcaya: Rumors of the Past
A Chat with Vizcaya's Archivist

Wednesday, March 21
7:00 p.m., Courtyard

Join us for a presentation and chat with Alex Privee, Vizcaya's archivist, to learn how our archives help us to dispel or confirm some interesting rumors about Vizcaya.
Although it's been nearly 100 years since Vizcaya was built, we continually discover new things about the estate and those who created it. Gain access to "insider" and "breaking" information about Vizcaya's architecture, natural areas and diverse collections.
Tickets $5; free for Members, Seniors and Students with ID. Seating is limited. RSVP not necessary.
Vizcayans - For more information about becoming a member go to

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Francesco Simeti Contemporary Arts Porject Vizcaya

Francesco Simeti’s A seahorse, a caravel and large quantities of concrete, stone, fill, topsoil, tiles, piping, trees, and other plants is the winter/spring exhibition of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens’ Contemporary Arts Project (CAP), a commission program that invites artists to develop site-specific projects inspired by Miami’s most popular National Historic Landmark. The exhibition will be on view from February 24 through May 21, 2012.
New York-based artist Francesco Simeti transforms one of Vizcaya’s outdoor fountains into a surreal theatrical set, providing a playful and melancholic commentary on the fragility of human endeavors. Inspired by the mechanical apparatuses that simulated natural phenomena in Baroque gardens, Simeti’s animated assemblage is composed of floating sculptures representing elements of the estate. The project continues in the Main House exhibition room with an installation of historic artifacts pulled from storage and on display for the first time ever.

Simeti is best known for his wallpapers—collages that introduce politically and socially charged images from the mass-media into the private sphere of the home. At the core of Simeti’s work is the investigation of nature and artifice, from Renaissance and Baroque garden architecture to the manufactured lures used to hunt living animals. Simeti is currently working on several permanent projects for New York City’s public schools and subway system, and has created site specific installations for the MACRO (Rome), Rhode Island School of Design Museum (Providence), Art & Idea Gallery (Mexico City) and Columbia University (New York City).

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spring in Miami and Vizcaya's Italian Gardens

Celebrating the Italian Garden
Elements of an Italian Renaissance Garden
Topiaries and Parterre
Potted Plants
Water Features
Charlotte Weychan

Vistas from house and back

See past blogs to learn more about Italian Gardens

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Moon Over Miami

Moon Over Miami from New World Symphony
Moonlight Garden Tours
Optional guided tours begin at 6:30 p.m. and continue at intervals throughout the evening.
Join us for this favorite visitor opportunity to experience Vizcaya's gardens by moonlight and enjoy live music in the Courtyard of the Main House (decorated rooms will not be open). Wine and light refreshments available for purchase. Vizcaya Museum Shop will be open. Not all areas of the gardens are wheelchair accessible.

Tickets $15; $10 for Members, Students and Seniors; available onsite only from 6:00-8:00 p.m. on the evening of the program.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Robin Hood Feb 15, 2012 Vizcaya Viewing

Viewing Vizcaya: Robin Hood (1922)
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
5:30 p.m. - Happy Hour, South Terrace
6:30 p.m. - Film Screening, Main House
(Gates open 5:30 - 7:00 pm)
Meet up at Vizcaya after work for a mid-week retreat with cocktails and cinema! Mingle, relax and savor live music and refreshments by the bay. Then follow in the footsteps of James Deering and his guests by enjoying a historic silent film in the Courtyard of the Main House, complete with live musical accompaniment on Vizcaya's custom-made pipe organ!
Robin Hood  (1922)
Running Time: 144 minutes, not rated

For love of Maid Marian, the Earl of Huntingdon (Douglas Fairbanks) endangers his life. For love of his country, the Earl risks his honor. For love of justice, he transforms into Robin Hood, champion of the underdog, taking on cruelty, treachery and oppression. Join us for this romantic and scandalous tale, bursting with swashbuckling feats by Hood and his mischievous band of merry men!

Tickets $15; available onsite only beginning at 5:30 p.m. on the evening of the program. Food and drink is not included in the ticket price. Seating is limited.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Erik Speyer At Vizcaya Cafe and Shop

Self Portrait
watercolor 23x30

Erik Speyer is a plein air painter in both oils and watercolors. His paintings include landscapes, marine subjects, figurative works and still lifes.

watercolor 12x9

Vizcaya Statue
watercolor 10x14

This past year he painted 100 Miami scenes in 100 days. Snap shots of Miami but better and lucky for us some of his time was spent at Vizcaya. Several of his painting are available in the Vizcaya Cafe and Shop.

Vizcaya Steps
watercolor 9x12

I met Erik this past week when he delivered his paintings to the shop and had a delightful visit. It is refreshing to meet a person with such a passion for life. He embraces moments, places and people with joy and enthusiasm and it reflects in his stories and his art.
Mansion from Hill
oil 6x8

Statue of Child
oil 6x8