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GLOEDEN WILHELM VON. 1856-1931
Photo “The naked boy”

Gelatin silver print. 22 x 16 cm. Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden, German photographer known for his erotic images of teenage boys. The poses of his subjects are staged, they often wear togas and headbands. His works are inspired by classical Greece, Roman art and mythology. At first he sold postcards picturing landscapes, monuments, and people of Sicily but soon his nude studies of young men and boys of Taormina became his principal work and were avidly collected. Some of his portraits and scenes of Sicily were eventually published in National Geographic. After his death, Italy’s fascist government destroyed or damaged many of von Gloeden’s 3,000 glass plate of negatives, all of which were confiscated as pornographic material. By the time his negatives were returned to the caretakers of his work after World War II, only a few hundred remained intact; nonetheless, what survived was enthusiastically rediscovered in the late 1960s and early 1970s (Handy et al. Reflections in a Glass Eye: Works from the International Center of Photography Collection, New York: Bulfinch Press in association with the International Center of Photography, 1999, p. 230.)