My friend Ray Elman is the founding editor in chief of Inspicio, the art publication that is sponsored by The College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts at Florida International University (FIU).
The current edition of Inspicio features a video interview with Mitchell “Micky” Wolfson Jr. an 80 year old collector, preservationist, educator and museum founder, who is dedicated to the research, preservation and education of the material culture of the period 1850–1950, through The Wolfsonian–FIU in Miami Beach and the Wolfsoniana in Genoa, Italy.
Wolfson was born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida, the son of Frances Cohen (December 16, 1906– May 9, 1980) and Mitchell Wolfson (1900–1983), the founder of Wometco Enterprises in 1925 and the first Jewish mayor of Miami Beach in 1943. His older brother, Louis Wolfson II, was a Florida state representative from Miami-Dade County from 1963–1973.
Wolfson received an undergraduate degree from Princeton University and a master’s degree in International relations from the Paul N. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
In 1986 Wolfson established The Wolfsonian Foundation, a research center and museum in Miami Beach, and began publishing The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Art, a journal fostering scholarship in late 19th- and early 20th-century design. In the same year he acquired the Mackenzie Castle in Genoa to house his collection, although the restoration works he commissioned remained unfinished and the manor was later sold to an auction house.
Wolfson co-authored Miami Beach: Blueprint of an Eden with artist Michele Oka Doner. Published in 2005, the book is a personal portrayal of Miami Beach from the 1920s through the 1960s.
He is president of The Wolfson Initiative, Washington Storage Company, and the Novecento Corporation. He sits on the Wolfsonian-FIU Advisory Board and the Florida International University Board of Directors and is a trustee for the Mitchell Wolfson Senior Foundation that supports educational and health issues.
Also, he is a trustee for the Mitchell Wolfson Family Foundation that supports the Audubon House and Tropical Gardens in Key West, Florida. He is a member of the International Council of the Museum of Arts and Design, the International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, the International Council of Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris, France, and a past member of the American Friends of the Louvre. He is on the advisory council of Princeton University’s Department of Comparative Literature and on the advisory council of the Paul N. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Whew that was a mouthful. I cut and pasted those words from Ray. The interview Ray did with Wolfson is absolutely amazing. It’s a series of videos so get ready for the most entertaining format.
What an amazing piece. Truly enjoyed it and what a man he is. I loved his view on objects and the idea of serendipity; so true. Left me with things to think about. He is an artist in his own right. Thanks to Ray for executing this.