A&E: New Miami LGBT Museum to Showcase Gay Photographer’s Work

This 1950 snapshot, taken on Fire Island, is one of the photographs on display at the new George Daniell Museum, opening April 3 in Miami Beach. Credit: George Daniell Estate

A new LGBT-themed art museum highlighting the life and works of George Daniell will open in Miami Beach on April 3. The museum, housed in the Wilzig Museum Building and home to the World Erotic Art Museum (WEAM), will feature the full collection of the prominent American photographer and artist.

Daniell, whose shots were featured in Time, Life and Esquire magazines, captured the images of many celebrities of the era, including Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Lena Horne and Georgia O’ Many of his more personal photographs, also on display, demonstrate a homoerotic sensibility to his work. 



“He was openly gay and brought a clear gay perspective to all of his works. Not only was this unusual in the art world, but his work has been shown in important art institutions throughout the world because he was able to make this gay perspective understandable to every audience,” explained museum director Helmut Schuster. 

The photographs, paintings and aquarelles in the collection date from 1920 to 1991 and this is the first time the entirety of his collection will be available for public viewing.  

George Daniell


Schuster said, “It is very unusual to have access to the complete life’s work of an artist. George Daniell [was] not only a photographer, he worked as a painter, did drawings, and photos. He developed his style in every period and was always ahead of his time. To go through his collection is like traveling through the art history of the whole last century.”

The collection was recently unearthed by his estate and reintroduced to the public by the German organization Zentraldepot.  

“The new George Daniell Museum will be of great interest to both the LGBTQ and the mainstream communities, to see both the glamour and grit of yesteryear, with a strong dose of homoeroticism,” said Schuster. “This is important today because art can be a powerful way to bring understanding and acceptance to the world. Daniell was an early gay activist, in more difficult times than today … with growing right-wing politics all over the world, his work and his message [are] even more relevant.”

The museum is the latest phase in the development of the new Wilzig Museum Building, home to WEAM and its unique collection of erotic art since 2005. 

Two other permanent collections are already on display: Exhibits documenting the lives of Magnus Hirschfeld, presented by Humboldt University Berlin, and Alfred Kinsey, the sex researcher who famously determined that 10 percent of the population was gay or lesbian, curated by the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. The development team is in final discussions to host two more international museums, which a expected to open in 2020. 

The grand opening of the George Daniell Museum in the Wilzig Museum Building, 1205 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach, will be held on Wednesday, April 3 at 6 p.m., in conjunction with Miami Beach Pride, and is open to the public. For more information, go to GeorgeDaniell.org.

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