Josip Ladović was born in 1928 in Zagreb, where he went to classics high school. He took a degree at the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb in 1953, having read art history. His first job was in the Croatian Conservation Institute in Zagreb (Conservation Dept), and then in the Workers’ University and in the Institute for the Conservation of Monuments of Culture, where he dealt with conservation work.
Since he had nice handwriting, as a student he would write for adverts and the inscriptions for exhibitions. Often he worked on putting up the exhibitions of well known painters, and once he got to know the painter Vilko Gecan, with whom he made friends, which in a sense changed his life, orienting him more to painting. From this came the idea of the big Gecan retrospective that Ladović mounted in 1964 in the Art Pavilion. His interest in this painter ultimately resulted in the writing of a Gecan monograph.
He worked with almost all the museums in Zagreb for which he did the permanent displays, the most important being the Numismatic Collection in the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, the Gold and Silver of Dubrovnik, and others. He had good working relations with many curators, and with Jelka Ribarić Radauš put on the ethnographic exhibition Play of Magic Threads. He worked on the set-ups of well-known painters – of, for example, Postružnik, Svečnjak and Gecan. In the Museum of Arts and Crafts he worked on the set-up of an exhibition of small ceramic pieces. He also often worked with Zagreb City Museum, the Croatian Schools Museum, Klovićevi Dvori Gallery and many other museums and galleries outside Zagreb.
He gave vent to his passion for painting in the making of posters, though he never appeared before public as a painter. He also took part frequently in making the displays of exhibitions of Croatian museums abroad. He wrote numerous texts, and worked for many journals. His work won him the Order of the Croatian Daystar with Figure of Marko Marulić and the Conservators Association of the Republic of Croatia Prize.
NB. Data taken from the questionnaire, material taken from the Personnel Archives of the MDC, and from an interview recorded on April 10, 2003.
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