Wilhelm von Gloeden (1856 - 1931)

RA Collection: People and Organisations

Photographer. Born 16.09.1856, died16/02/1931. Suffering from ill health in his early twenties, von Gloeden moved to Taormina, Sicily where he was eventually joined by his sister. From Taormina, he would travel throughout Italy, visiting his cousin Wilhelm von Pluscrow, a commercial photographer based in Naples, who taught him photographic techniques. The onset of financial problems together with the gift of a camera lead to von Gloeden’s early photography - selling postcards of the landscape and monuments of Sicily and taking portraits of the local inhabitants. The villagers attitude to von Gloeden’s open homosexuality was eased by his generosity and the royalities he paid his models, as some of the images sold by the thousand. After von Gloeden’s death in 1931, the Italian authorities, considering his work as pornographic, destroyed an estimated three thousand glass plate negatives and prints and by the end of the Second World War, only a few hundred images survived.


Born: 16 September 1856 in Germany

Died: 16 February 1931

Gender: Male

Works by Wilhelm von Gloeden in the RA Collection

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