Mourning Francisco González Gragera, creator of Capricho de Cotrina

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Matteo Radoslovich

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About the Artist/Site

In 1914 Matteo Radoslovich immigrated to the United States from a small island in the Adriatic Sea. In his hometown, Lussinpiccolo, he had worked as an assistant at his father’s sailboat company, so he sought work as a ship carpenter in his new home. He was hired by Todd Shipyards in Hoboken, New Jersey, and worked there until he retired at age 65.

Radoslovich’s retirement marked his artistic debut. For the next 25 years, he fashioned wood remnants, glass jars, metal cans, and other found objects into an extensive wind sculpture that filled his backyard on 60th Street in West New York, New Jersey. Drawing outlines directly on the materials he chose, he worked out his ideas without making preliminary sketches. He used the same hand tools he used at the shipyard to create a miniature carnival featuring clowns, dancing girls, birds, and boats. He fitted some with wind-powered propellers, and designed others to rotate and sway in the wind. 

After Radoslovich died, his family planned to clear his 39-piece artwork from the property, but a folk art “picker” intervened, offering them ten dollars for the work. The picker sold the whirligigs to a New York dealer, who then re-sold it to folk art collectors Dorothy and Leo Rabkin. The Rabkins donated the work to the American Museum of Folk Art. In preparation for an exhibit that would include Radoslovich’s whirligigs, folk art historian Mary Ann Demos researched the artist’s background and work methods. This text is drawn from her findings, published in the 1986 Museums Council of New Jersey book The Challenge of Folk Materials for New Jersey’s Museums

~Holly Metz

SPACES Archives Holdings

1 folder: images

Map and site information

Not Exact Address
West New York, New Jersey, United States
Latitude/Longitude: 40.787744 / -74.014612

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