Willie Tarver

Born in Bartow, Georgia, Tarver helped his father as a sharecropper and later worked in a lumberyard. At the age of 21, he enlisted in the Army and served a tour of duty in the Korean War. He and his wife Mae were married for 55 years and collaborated on tin cutouts which they painted.

 

For 25 years he worked in management at Thermo King Corporation as a refrigeration repairman. He started making art in the 1960’s. Over the years, he worked in concrete (including tombstones) and then in metal welded sculptures. 

 

Tarver was known as a kind, patient gentleman of exceptional talent. His metal sculptures can be seen in the Folk Art Park in Atlanta, Georgia that was created for the 1996 Olympics. His work is also in the permanent collection of the Telfair Museum in Savannah, Georgia.

Willie Tarver Folk Art

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