A. Wolfe Davidson Chronology

  • 1903
    • Born in Vitebsk, Russia, in the Pale of Settlement (now Belarus).
  • 1919
    • Attends the Vitebsk Government Art School.
    • Davidson’s father, Chaim Meyer, is killed in Ukraine during a skirmish between German and Red Army forces.
  • 1922
    • Immigrates with his mother Chasia to the United States and settles in Greenville, SC.
  • 1923 (approx.)
    • Davidson moves to Atlanta, GA to stay with family. He attempts to get a job working on the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum refers him to the Atlanta Terra Cotta Company. Davidson works there for three months.
  • 1923-1924 (approx.)
    • Davidson moves to Savannah, GA, to work in his brother’s tire store. He uses studio space at Telfair Academy for modeling.
  • 1924 (approx.)
    • Davidson moves to “a small town near Greenville [SC].”
  • 1925 (approx.)
    • Davidson moves to New York to study sculpture at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design.
  • 1927
    • Davidson applies for US citizenship and moves back to Greenville, SC. He becomes very ill from nephritis and is unable to work for some years.
  • 1933
    • Is one of eighteen SC artists hired as part of the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) [Greenville, SC]
  • 1934 – 1936
    • Attends Clemson College [Clemson, SC]
  • 1934
    • Sculpts John C. Calhoun bust. [Clemson, SC]
    • Begins work on Thomas G. Clemson statue. [Clemson, SC]
    • PWAP ends.
  • 1935
    • Vice president and one of three founding members of the Greenville Fine Arts League. [Greenville, SC]
    • Sculpts bust of Thomas Green Clemson [Clemson, SC]
    • Sculpts bust of Rudolph E. Lee. [Clemson, SC]
    • Sculpts bust of Clemson president E.W. Sikes. [Clemson, SC]
  • 1935-1936 Winter Holiday
    • Begins work on General Charles P. Summerall bust (located at The Citadel). [Charleston, SC and Clemson, SC]
    • Sculpts bust of South Carolina governor Ibra Charles Blackwood (located in South Carolina Confederate Relic Room) [Charleston, SC and Clemson, SC]
    • Sculpts bust of Alexander S. Salley, Secretary of the State Historical Society. [Charleston, SC]
    • Sculpts children of Charles Gerald, Gov. Blackwood’s secretary. [Charleston, SC]
    • Acquires cannons now in front of Tillman Hall, which were originally in basement of Capitol [Charleston, SC and Clemson, SC]
  • 1936
    • Completes bust of General Charles P. Summerall, president of The Citadel (located at The Citadel, Columbia SC) [Charleston, SC and Clemson, SC]
    • Completes Thomas Green Clemson statue for Clemson College. [Clemson, SC]
    • Sculpts bust of Dr. E.C. McCants, Superintendent of City Schools in SC, for McCants Middle School in Anderson, SC. [Clemson, SC]
    • Creates design for commemorative half-dollar for South Carolina’s sesquicentennial, proceeds of which went to building the Sesquicentennial Park. [Columbia, SC and Clemson, SC]
    • Marries wife Katherine Harbin on June 3, 1936. After summering in Clemson, they return to Greenville.
  • 1936 – 1943
    • Teaches a weekly art class at Greenville High School. [Greenville, SC]
  • 1937 – 1938
    • Director for the Works Progress Administration art gallery in Greenville. [Greenville, SC]
  • 1937
    • Opens Greenville’s first WPA gallery above a poolroom on Main Street, across from the Poinsett Hotel. [Greenville, SC]
    • Sculpts bust of South Carolina Governor Richard Irvine Manning III.
    • Completes plaster bust of Andrew Jackson.
    • Completes plaster bust of Dr. Marion Simms (statue located in Lancaster, S.C.)
    • Moves to cabin on Paris Mountain, where he establishes a home studio.
  • 1938
    • Sculpts South Carolina Governor John Gardiner Richard, Jr.
    • Completes bronze bust of Andrew Jackson (located in Lancaster, SC).
    • Daughter Dorothy born. [Paris Mountain, SC]
  • 1939
    • Casts the Thomas Clemson statue in stone, though he originally wanted to cast it in bronze. [Clemson, SC]
  • 1940
    • Sculpts bas-relief football panel on the front of Fike Recreation Center. [Clemson, SC]
    • Sculpts Dr. James Lewis Mann (superintendent, Greenville County Schools). [Paris Mountain, SC]
    • WPA gallery closes.
  • 1943
    • Moves to Marietta, GA to work at the Bell Bomber Plant.
    • Daughter Jennifer born. [Paris Mountain, SC]
  • 1945
    • Davidson’s mother Chasia passes away. [Greenville, SC]
  • 1947-1948
    • Works as an ice sculptor at a hotel in Hollywood Beach, Fl., after an investment in a foundry in Marietta nearly bankrupts him.
  • 1948
    • Accepts position as art instructor at Brenau College, begins teaching in August. The Art Department was located on the upper floor of the Library. Davidson would remain in Gainesville, GA for the rest of his life.
  • 1949
    • Sculpts Melvin Jones, founder of Lions Club International. [Brenau College]
  • 1950
    • Sculpts bust of Jesse Jewell, founder of J.D. Jewell Inc. Bust located in Gainesville, GA. [Brenau College]
  • 1951
    • Suffers a heart attack, which makes it difficult for him to sculpt, and he turns more to
  • 1953
    • Attends Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where he studies under Peter Voulkos.
    • Sculpts bust of William Henry Belk, founder of Belk’s department store (bust located at corporate headquarters in Charlotte, NC). [Brenau College]
    • Spends December at the Maitland Art Center, where he meets and completes a clay bust of J. Andre Smith. [Maitland, FL]
    • Greenville Fine Arts League becomes the Greenville Art Association.
  • 1954
    • Sculpts bust of J.C. Littlejohn, located at Clemson. [Brenau College]
    • Sculpts Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge (statue located in Talmadge Park, Atlanta GA). [Brenau College]
  • 1955
    • Sculpts Georgia Senator Walter F. George. [Brenau College]
    • Sculpts Georgia governor Marvin Griffin. [Brenau College]
    • Sculpts Myrt Power, winner of the $64,000 Question. [Brenau College]
    • Sculpts Eugene Cooke, Georgia Attorney General. [Brenau College]
  • 1956
    • Sculpts Dr. Crawford L. Long, first doctor to use anesthesia in surgery. [Brenau College]
  • 1957
    • Davidson enters into the float-building business with Charles Blackwood, and builds a workshop which houses his sculpting studio and a cast-stone shop, as Davidson had begun sculpting lawn The building burned down within a few years. [Gainesville, GA]
  • 1958
    • Sculpts Joseph Vann, an eighteenth century leader in Georgia’s Cherokee nation. [Brenau College]
    • Sculpts Robert F. Poole bust located at Clemson. [Brenau College]
    • Greenville Art Association opens first museum in Gassoway Mansion.
  • 1960 (approx.)
    • Begins imitating bronze using red oxide finish for ceramic portraiture work.
    • Davidson agrees to sculpt the current and past presidents of Furman College in exchange for his             daughter, Dorothy’s, tuition, room and board.
  • 1961
    • Sculpts a stone pagoda for a client in Greenville, SC, as well as in his own yard. [Greenville SC, and Gainesville, GA]
  • 1962
    • Sculpts head of Byron Reese, author. [Brenau College]
  • 1964
    • Sculpts Robert Mills, nineteenth century architect who designed Washington Monument. [Brenau College]
    • Sculpts statue of Albert Einstein (statue located on the UC Berkeley campus). [Brenau College]
  • 1965
    • Sculpts bust of James F. Byrnes and attends unveiling at R. M. Cooper Library. [Brenau College and Clemson, SC]
  • 1966
    • Retires from teaching position at Brenau College and moves off campus into Gainesville, GA.
    • Recasts statue of Thomas G. Clemson in bronze. [Gainesville, GA and Clemson, SC]
    • Sculpts Georgia Governor Carl Sanders. [Gainesville, GA]
    • Sculpts Robert C. Edwards bust (clay model visible in 1967 shot of tiger statue). [Gainesville, GA]
    • Sculpts Enoch Sikes bust, now at Clemson. [Gainesville, GA]
    • Davidson and his wife Katherine take a trip to see their daughter Dorothy, who is working for the Peace Corps in Iran; they additionally visit Paris, Rome and Florence, and Istanbul. Davidson commemorates the trip in a series of watercolors and oil paintings.
  • 1967
    • Begins work on the “Brotherhood of the Tiger” for the Tiger Brotherhood service fraternity. [Gainesville, GA]
    • Begins work on Frank Howard bust (clay model visible in 1967 shot of tiger statue). [Gainesville, GA]
    • Begins work on Robert C. Edwards bust (clay model visible in 1967 shot of tiger statue). [Clemson, SC and Gainesville, GA]
  • 1969
    • Sculpts Ralph McGill, editor of the Atlanta Constitution. [Gainesville, GA]
    • Completes “Brotherhood of the Tiger,” casting is in aluminum. It now sits in front of Littlejohn Coliseum. [Gainesville, GA and Clemson, SC]
    • Completes bronze busts of James C. Littlejohn, which also sits in front of Littlejohn Coliseum. [Gainesville, GA and Clemson, SC]
  • 1970
    • Sculpts bust of Furman University president Gordon Blackwell, located at Furman. [Gainesville, GA]
  • 1972
    • Completes bronze bust of Frank Howard, which was installed at the 50-yard line in Memorial Stadium. [Gainesville, GA and Clemson, SC]
    • Exhibit of Davidson’s work at Gainesville Junior College. [Gainesville, GA]
  • 1974
    • Greenville County Museum of Art opens in present location; opening ceremony attended by Davidson, whom the Greenville News credited with “opening the first art museum in Greenville forty years prior.” [Greenville, SC]
    • Davidson’s wife Katherine passes away.
  • 1980
    • Sculpts the prototype and mold for the Clemson Medallion. [Gainesville, GA and Clemson SC]
    • Sculpts bronze bust of Stephen Decatur and attends unveiling ceremony in Decatur, Ga. [Gainesville, GA and Decatur, GA]
  • 1981
    • Davidson passes away at age 78 in Gainesville, GA. He had been working on a life-sized relief of Senator Strom Thurmond at the time.