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Rediscovering an Artist: Roberto de la Selva and the Lost Murals at The Deserted Village

Monday, January 8 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

For many decades the work of a distinguished Latin American artist lay hidden beneath the wallpaper in a cottage in Feltville—Union County’s “Deserted Village. “


Eventually uncovered by volunteer maintenance workers, the colorful images depicting rural Mexican life displayed a compelling talent.  Extensive research revealed them to be the work of Roberto de la Selva, a native of Nicaragua. De la Selva had at one time in the late 1920s been a guest of Edward Grassmann, who had purchased much of the Deserted Village in 1919.   De la Selva would go on to become renowned as a bas relief sculptor in wood,  working as part of the movement known as Mexican Modernism in which artists such as Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco celebrated post-Revolution social reform and the heritage of indigenous cultures.

The Library is pleased to host a special program to share the fascinating story of these unique murals and the artist who left his mark here in Union County .  The panel of speakers will feature:

  • Daniel Bernier, Director of Park Planning and Environmental Services for Union County, and resident caretaker of Feltville
  • Priscilla Hayes, a writer and researcher dedicated to chronicling Feltville’s rich three-century history
  • Alejandro Anreus, Ph.D, Emeritus Professor of Art History and Latin American Studies, William Paterson University
  • Ron Burkard, a longtime collector of de la Selva’s art (joining us from Oklahoma via Zoom)

Please register to join us either in-person or on Zoom for this event!



Monday, January 8
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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