BUCKHANNON — The City of Buckhannon honored the late Wolfgang Flor, a popular wood sculptor from West Virginia, at Jawbone Park on Friday evening.
According to the newly installed descriptive plaque near the Chief Buckongahelas statue, Wolfgang was born in Naumburg, Selesia, Germany on January 29, 1928 and immigrated to the United States in 1951. Marie Luise Busz Flor joined him in 1957 and they married the next year. The couple moved to Upshur County in 1963 and stayed to be close to nature and work on their art. Flor was a talented self-taught artist who hand-carved his masterpieces from local chestnut, walnut and cherry, with wax to finish.
“My work comes from within the log. You could roll one of my pieces down a hill and it would not be seriously damaged,” W. Flor once said.
Flor passed away on December 2, 2017, but is survived by his wife, who continues to carve spoons, his daughters, Veronica Grant and Ulrika Browning, and grandchildren Jacob, Isabella, and Demar Grant and Rachel Browning.
West Virginia Wesleyan College has acquired some artistic works from Flor. The sculptor even carved the school seal in the college’s Benedum Center. Wesley Chapel also holds several pieces, including Jesus Christ’s 12 apostles displayed along the back wall, and the “Family Tree” from a 150-year-old chestnut piece in the corner. Both pieces are on display in the Sanctuary.
Other colleges in the state have also received the wood works of Flor. Glenville State College’s library displays a life-size walnut sculpture along the staircase named “The Return of the Prodigal Son,” and the “What’s Next?” portrait sculpture of a small boy adorns the children’s room. West Virginia University gained the large chestnut “Integration” piece, which is located in the Towers residence hall on the Evansdale campus.
Six pieces of his work can also be found at the Culture Center in Charleston, including the life-size walnut sculptures of “The Mother” and “Care.” Flor’s work also spans throughout the United States and in countries such as England, Germany and Belize.
“Wood sculpture is made for the hands. When someone touches my work, I consider it a compliment. What the music is to the ear, the piece of sculpture is to the eye. It must be so you want to put your hands on it,” W. Flor once said.
During the dedication, Mayor David McCauley touched on the other artists who have been shared throughout the community. “Our arts come to us in many forms, whether they be the performing arts through music, film, theatrical and dance, or the visual arts through paint, drawing, sculpture, photography, filmmaking and design, or the literary arts through prose, poetry, short story and novels,” McCauley said.
Mayor McCauley asked Marie Flor to say a few words at the end of the dedication. She said with gratitude, “Thank you very much for doing this for Wolfgang. I do believe he deserved it. He came to West Virginia to fulfill his life’s dream to make a living with the art and with this nature, and live simple, and I think he did succeed. I am very proud of him and I gladly became part of his life. Thank you all for coming.”
The Mayor concluded the dedication by saying, “In closing, please folks, remember to support your public arts with your enthusiasm and your dollars. The arts truly make all the difference in our high quality of life here. Thanks to you all for being here yet again, and remember also, this place and the arts are here for us all to enjoy and be inspired by. Thanks again, you rock Buckhannon!”
Written on the plaque it states that W. Flor once said, “Life is made up of good times – depicted in soft forms, and troubled times – evidenced by hard lines. To find the right balance in it is what life