Karl Ferdinand Wolfe: 1904 - 1984

Educator and Widely Respected Portrait Painter

Karl Wolfe was born in 1904 in Brookhaven, Mississippi. He was the oldest son of Wiley Wilson Wolfe and Elizabeth Heuck. He attended Soule Business College in New Orleans and later attended the Art Institute of Chicago, where he graduated in 1928. In his last year of study, he won the William R. French Traveling Scholarship and spent the next year traveling and studying in Europe.

Karl and Mildred Nungester were fellow colonists, friends and colleagues for many years before they married in 1944. Karl was drafted 1942. After the war, Karl and Mildred returned from Colorado Springs to Jackson, Mississippi, where Karl had previously established a clientele. He soon became an accomplished and widely respected portrait painter, painting several official portraits of Mississippi governors for the state capitol. Karl also taught for ten years at Millsaps College. He was very active in helping to establish the Municipal Gallery and the Mississippi Art Association, which later became the Mississippi Museum of Art. By his own estimation, Karl painted over 800 portraits that are now in public and private collections. He passed away in 1984 at the age of 80.

  • Born: Brookhaven, MS on January 25, 1904 Death: Jackson, MS on November 19, 1984
  • Best Known For: Regionalism, Still-Life, and Portraits
  • Methods: Easel and Plein Air Painting, Watercolors and Oils
  • Secondary Education: Soule Business College, New Orleans, LA; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; He also spent time traveling and studying in Europe.
  • Books: Artists Bluebook; Davenport's Art Reference: The Gold Edition; Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975; Who Was Who in American Art, 1898-1947; Gracious Plenty American Still-Life Art from Southern Collections, 2005; Mississippi Artist A Self Portrait, 1979; Contemporary Art of the U.S. (Golden Gate Exposition 1940); First National Exhibition of American Art, 1936; Index of Artists: International-Biographical, 1935; American Art Today, 1939
  • Periodicals: American Art Review, June 2002; Alabama Heritage, Summer 1996
  • Museums: Dixie Art Colony Foundation, Wetumpka, AL; Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Laurel, MS; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS; Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, Montgomery, AL; Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA; Old Capitol Museum of Mississippi History, Jackson, MS

 Examples of His Work

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