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George Connard Wolfe


Folk artist George Connard Wolfe (January 27, 1933 – April 5, 2012), a self-trained sculptor, was born in Standard, Kanawha County. He worked in stone and wood. He had been carving since about 1955, when he was discharged from the U.S. Army. Wolfe first carved stones for a wall and then made two headstones, after which he began carving in earnest. He made his own tools from automobile leaf springs and engine valves. He was active in the craft fair revival of the 1960s and 1970s.

Wolfe’s early works include a gigantic reclining nude carved from a boulder in the hills near his home and two life-sized sculptures in tree trunks, ‘‘Mountain Girl’’ and ‘‘Standing Christ.’’ Both tree sculptures have been destroyed. His most famous surviving works are a bear on the former campus of West Virginia University of Technology in Montgomery, a beaver at Bluefield High School, and a madonna and child in a Kanawha Valley church. His smaller wooden sculptures are sometimes painted but are frequently left in their natural state. Wolfe is represented in the West Virginia State Museum collection by three stone works, ‘‘Christ in Gethsemane,’’ ‘‘Madonna and Child,’’ and ‘‘The Kiss’’ from the 1970s, and two small wooden carvings made in 1994.

Written by James R. Mitchell