Tuesday, September 11, 2007

More from Nick's Grandview

Here are a few more photos of Nick Englebert's folk art creations. Evidently he started making his art in the 1930's after he sprained his ankle. Over the next twenty years or so he created forty concrete sculptures, and his wife made flower beds to surround them. He even encrusted his house with shards of broken tiles, plates, bits of glass and shells. In 1951, when he was seventy he received a set of oil paints, and he began painting pictures of his creations.

Years ago I was driving home from a trip in western Wisconsin on a fall day, and I spotted the crumbling sculptures in the yard of the little farm house set back from the road. I wanted to photograph them, so I pulled into the gravel driveway, and hiked up to the house, thinking to ask permission. The house was dark and empty. Both Englebert and his wife had died years before. Back then the sculptures were crumbling and falling to bits, and I heard a tornado further damaged some of them. I'm grateful that the Kohler Foundation came in and restored most of Engelbert's work. They have an exhibit in the house, but every time I have passed recently it has been locked up. By looking in the windows I could see some of the smaller sculptures, and the mural on the wall that Englebert painted.

No comments: