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George Papashvily

Fiction Writer · Sculptor
Born August 23, 1898, Kobiankari, Georgia
Died March 28, 1978, Cambria, California

I went in the barn, took a piece of chestnut. I'll start with an animal, I thought a sheep, can't go wrong with a sheep. I started carving and so far, I never stopped.-George Papashvily , on creating his first piece of sculpture


Georgian (former USSR) born sculptor George Papashvily succeeded both as a sculptor and as an author. Both careers came naturally to him. He co-wrote, with his wife Helen, humorous books often based on his life experiences. Their first book, Anything Can Happen, a tale of George's experiences as an immigrant in America (1922), was made into a movie in 1952, and translated into fifteen languages.
With no formal training, Papashvily began carving sculpture in his early 40s. He first worked with literal representations, but soon developed a signature style that was a combination of both naive and modern. He carved directly on wood and on stone, sculpting free standing figures and bas relief. His favorite subjects came from nature; animals, insects, flowers and an occasional human figure. His sculpture commissions included many libraries in Pennsylvania and in California, where the Papashvily's lived in the winter, as well as for Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. He exhibited widely in solo exhibitions and with painters who were his friends.

Image: Portrait of George Papashvily by Ben Solowey, 1962, courtesy James A. Michener Art Museum archives


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