Honoring the life of artist Ted Ludwicak

The Haverstraw RiverArts, The Village of Haverstraw and the Ludwiczak Family is honoring the life of Ted Ludwiczak with the unveiling of the iconic sculpture, Hendrik, on Saturday, April 22, 5 p.m. at The Gazebo in Emeline Park on 16 Front Street, Haverstraw.

Theodore Ludwiczak (1926-2016) became recognized for his artistic abilities to carve and create sculptures out of locally found rocks, which he dragged from the Hudson.  These sculptures were sometimes referred to as an “Easter Island” community of heads that populated his steep Hudson River shorefront property, with engaging eyes that called to passing boaters and people who travelled from far and near.  The sculptures became known as “Ted’s Heads”.  His art has also been labeled Outsider Art, Naïf and Primitive Modern as well as Folk Art.

As a college student Ted took a job on a cargo ship in his native Poland discouraged about his future in a Communist country to explore the globe.  He settled for a short period to become a German-speaking tour guide in Rome. When securing his visa to New York Ted’s fluency in German and English was so impressive that he was offered a job in Germany with the U. S. Army in Frankfurt where he also became an expert in wines. He arrived permanently in New York in 1956 he establishing a contact lenses grinding business

After retiring in 1986 he tapped a latent talent to sculpt stone and focused into 40 years of art production.  Although Ted was known for his humble nature he took pride in his new celebrity. “We’re just simple folk living here on this street, but now millionaires come to see my work.”

Ted attracted celebrity collectors, art dealers, colorful press and local enthusiasts.  His life and talents have been celebrated in videos and audio recordings, honored by art centers, shown in NYC galleries and Ted even inspired the chapter entitled “Rock Star” from Bruce Frankel’s book “What should I do with the Rest of My Life?”

Ted’s message on his answering machine framed him, “Go to life with a smile and an open mind”.

His sculpture is represented by The American Primitive Gallery, NYC.  Ted’s Heads are on view locally at the Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center, the Rockland Center for the Arts as well as nationally. Guest speakers include Aarne Anton from the American Primitive Gallery, NYC and the Hon. Mike Kohut, Mayor of the Village of Haverstraw. To RSVP, please contact Doris Laughton-Smith at 845-598-9713.

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