About the Artist:

Nick Engelbert

Nick Engelbert was born in 1881 in Pravaljie, Austria and named Engelbert Koletnik.  He was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian army as a young man and, after serving only two years, he fled Europe to escape further military involvement.  Following extensive travel to several countries, he eventually settled in America.  He reportedly then changed his name to Nick Engelbert in order to start a new life with a new identity.

In 1913 Nick married Katherine Thoni, a recent immigrant from Switzerland.  They settled in Wisconsin to be near Katherine’s family.  In 1922 they bought a small seven-acre farm just outside the little village of Hollandale where they raised four children.

Engelbert created his first concrete sculpture in the mid-1930’s, reportedly while recovering from a sprained ankle.  By the 1950’s his entire yeard was transformed into an artistic landscape of over 40 concrete sculptures

By the early 1940’s Engelbert had decorated the entire exterior of his small farmhouse with a colorful mosaic of concrete embellished with stones, shells, glass shards and fragments of ceramic dinnerware and porcelain figurines.

In 1960 Katherine died and Engelbert sold Grandview and moved to Baltimore to live with his daughter Alyce and her family.

Nick passed away on his birthday in 1962.

About the Organization:

The Pecatonica Educational Charitable Foundation (PEC)

Pecatonica Educational Charitable Foundation is a mouthful.  One of the reasons we chose that name is that the first part forms the acronym PEC - which is short for Pecatonica and used by our school district and many others in these parts.  The Pecatonica River is a thread that ties our communities together.  Nick, Katherine and their children used to picnic on the east branch of the Pecatonica, and you can see depictions in his art.

The PEC Foundation is a volunteer group of local citizens and community leaders.  We started in 1997 by serving the southwest Wisconsin communities of Hollandale and Blanchardville but over the last decade we have become a regional arts/cultural organization.

Foundation Goals:

Operate the Nick Engelbert historic site for the general public and make it available to the community for educational and social events

Promote or create partnerships between individuals, school and businesses to expand learning opportunities that improve the quality of life for all

Affirm the work of life-long learning by providing scholarships and grants for unique learning opportunities

Look for opportunities to bring the world to the community via cultural exchanges, enrichment and educational programs

Conduct workshops in the fine arts with an emphasis on developing an appreciation for the arts and celebrating local talent

Identify and reward community members and educational staff who seek personal growth and provide inspiration for others to learn new skills.

Volunteers and donations make our goals possible - please consider giving however you can!

Gifts to the PEC Foundation/Grandview are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

PEC Foundation, Inc.

PO Box 95

Hollandale, WI  53544

Board members

President - Marilyn Rolfsmeyer

Treasurer - Rick Rolfsmeyer

Secretary - Mary Diezel

Sue Brunett

About the Property:

Art Restoration

Grandview is called an “art environment” because you’re surrounded by Nick’s work, in the house and in the yard.  The statues take a beating in the winter, so we’re always repairing and restoring.

When Grandview was gifted to the PEC Foundation it was not fully restored, so we’ve embarked on a plan to bring back missing art work piece-by-piece.  Over the years we’ve restored one of the three Swiss patriots, the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves tableau and recently we brought back the whole Uncle Sam tableau

Many statues lie in storage waiting for the chance to once again adorn the yard as they did when the Engelbert family thrived here.  The Carinthian Forest Ranger, Paul Bunyan, the beautiful embellished fence, and many more of Nick’s  creations wait for their day of resurrection in the pastoral Hollandale countryside.

Our copious thanks go to current art restoration experts Ben Caguioa and Ruthie Rolfsmeyer of International Artifacts for their delicate, well-researched and precise work.  We also offer continued thanks to Don Howlett for years of restoration work and training us in continued maintenance.  The Kohler Foundation & Ruth Foundation for the Arts supports much of our restoration work, and they have our continued gratitude.

© 2024. Nick Engelbert's Grandview. All Rights Reserved.