Svetozar & Ruth Radakovich: Why jewelry and sculpting go hand in hand

composite During the 1960’s many within the various craft councils noted & contemplated how far could modernism go with Jewelry? Almost all conceivable shapes, objects and designs limited to a few square inches (such as room for a pendant, necklace, earring or brooch) had seemed to be exhausted.  During one exhibit Ed Wiener rightfully noted that some of the work submitted from the Radakovichs’ should probably not have been allowed because it was sculpture more than it was jewelry where the person wearing it evaporated due to the exquisite nature of the piece – and he was right.  It is noted Ed Wiener jewelry compliments a person’s body very well and usually becomes understood and appreciated when it worn more so than when it is viewed as a singular object. He was entirely capable of sculpture but was intent and focused on what he as a jeweler was aiming for – and rarely deviated. The Radakovich’s, Paul Miller and Stanley Lechtizin (there are others) took jewelry to absolute limits where abstract design and form truly became sculpture – a pendant could be seen as being an earring, a brooch or even a stand-alone sculptural object. Dorothy & Herb Vogel noted that when an object has great inherent design, it may become difficult when viewing a picture of it to judge if it is 10 feet tall or 10 inches and this was suggested as a means by which to look at an object and judge it. This can certainly be applied to the sculptures of Ruth & Svetozar Radakovich. The opening image of this Blog shows two sculptures by Toza. One from 1971, the other 1974. A composite image has been made showing them side by side, but the question is, which one is more detailed, as they appear to comprise the same amount of detail. The photograph below shows both sculptures within the same photographic shot – one is over 8″ tall and the other a mere 2″ by comparison – yet the detail is nearly identical, in fact it could be argued the smaller sculpture has more detail having present details down to the genitals of the man – take another look. DSC_0023 We have seen such sculptures of this smaller size used for pendants from Svetozar – thus they could be stone mounted or become jewelry and at this point the sculptural abilities of the best jewelers becomes apparent – is this something missed in contemporary jewelry? Obviously, yes – a view of contemporary jewelry leaves no doubt as to what the object is and how large or small it is whereas with modernist jewelers who excelled the answer is not so obvious. DSC_0021DSC_0035 In this photo below we have pictured three pieces – two sculptures by Svetozar and one ring by Ruth Radakovich. The ring has more detail than the sculptures but again beyond being a ring there would little needed to be done to have it as a pendant, brooch or free standing as a work of art in itself.   DSC_0026   DSC_0036The larger sculpture and the ring have been discussed in previous blog articles but the new addition (the smaller sculpture) has an interesting history. The Radakovichs’ were very close friends of Berta Wright, a textile and fashion designer in Arizona. At some point in the early 70’s Toza created for Berta a sculpture and it was gifted to her (perhaps she commissioned it we are uncertain).  The sculpture appears to be a worker handling textiles and photographic searches reveals similar looking images from villages and textile workers holding yarn and fabrics for folding and measuring. When Berta died, her possessions were sold off for social betterment and this sculpture ended up in the hands of a gentlemen on the West Coast from whom we acquired it.   DSC_0033DSC_0032 It has crossed my mind several times to detach the sculpture and wear it as a pendant, (we previously owned a pendant from Svetozar Radakovich which I now sorely miss and see within this object a chance to regain a shadow of that pendant) though I think my partner would execute me for such a thing!


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