Ongoing research is absolutely essential for the preservation, presentation and interpretation of Vizcaya. While research occurs mostly “behind the scenes,” our visitors enjoy its benefits in the thoughtful and high-quality restorations, displays and educational materials that increasingly define Vizcaya.
The 2007 book Vizcaya: An American Villa and Its Makers and other recent publications have contributed to our understanding of the estate. The 2011 Cultural Landscape Report, described in the Preservation and Conservation pages, enables us to restore our gardens to their historic splendor. Our archivist uncovers on a regular basis little-known facts about Vizcaya.
In the past few years, we have, in particular, stepped up collections research. Thanks to important grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and private funders, staff has been able to study publications and archival records not only at Vizcaya, but also at museums and libraries elsewhere in the United States and abroad—especially in Italy, where Deering and Chalfin acquired so many things.
Collections research focuses on the history of objects prior to their arrival at Vizcaya and how they became part of the estate’s décor. Vizcaya holds an important place in the history of American art collecting and the international art market at the beginning of the twentieth century. Due to Vizcaya’s location in a city remote from peer museums and because of resource constraints, surprisingly little has been published about this important collection over the past century. Happily, this is changing.
To pursue our research goals effectively, we have established partnerships with other institutions. For example, Vizcaya’s extensive collection of eighteenth-century Italian garden sculptures has been investigated in collaboration with the Art History Institute of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice, Italy. In 2010, Vizcaya’s Deputy Director for Collections and Curatorial Affairs, Flaminia Gennari-Santori, published her research on the Veneto origins of these sculptures in the journal Arte Veneta:
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in “Per un Altante della Statuaria Veneta da Giardino, VI”, edited by M. De Vincenti and S. Guerriero, Arte Veneta, vol. 67, 2010, pp. 272–281.
We have also been researching the history of collections donated to Vizcaya following its inauguration as a public museum. Learn more about this through the link below.