Friday, March 27, 2015

The Bronze Sculptor: Leonard Enos "Gus" Shafer

My first cousin once removed, Leonard Enos "Gus" Shafer, was born on a farm 3 1/2 miles southwest of Hoisington, Barton, Kansas and received his formal education at Hoisington High School.  He furthered his education at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa and Kansas State Teachers College in Emporia, Lyons, Kansas.  He was the son of Louis Franklin and Etta Delphenia "Del" (Smith) Shafer.  

Gus learned how to draw while attending a small one-room schoolhouse.  It was his favorite subject!

He married Eva C. Gerardy, in 1930, and they had one daughter, Patricia Louise "Pat" Shafer.  Shortly after his marriage to Eva, they moved to Kansas City where he worked as a commercial artist (after a short stint working for the Wichita Eagle).  

It wasn't until 1966, at the age of 59, that he sculpted his first model for casting.  He closed his studio and started sculpting bronzes full time in 1968 and became internationally known for his works, even being commissioned to do some work in England and Italy.   

In 1973, Gus published a book called "Gus Shafer's West", which features a number of his sketches, paintings and bronze sculptures.

He passed away on 5 May 1985, in Overland Park, Johnson, Kansas.

On 22 September 1991, Eva broke ground for the L. E. "Gus" and Eva Shafer Memorial Art Gallery aka "The Shafer Gallery".  The gallery is located on the campus of Barton County Community College, Great Bend, Barton, Kansas,  Grand opening was held November 1, 1992.

Here are photos of some of his works: