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Mortuary Art of Sculptor John Walz, from Savannah's Bonaventure to Macon's Rose Hill

I didn't believe it at first.  But then I found a newspaper article that confirmed it.  John Walz, well known German born sculptor of Savannah, Georgia, was commissioned to carve a statue of Bertha Wolff – and that statue was delivered to and placed in Rose Hill Cemetery at Macon, Georgia.


I am deeply in love with Macon's Rose Hill Cemetery.  It's one of the few things I was sad to leave when we moved to the mountains.  But it doesn't get oohed and ahhed over quite as much as Savannah's Bonaventure Cemetery.  Over 100 pieces of mortuary art found in Bonaventure are attributed to John Walz.  To know a piece of art by a sculptor who helped give Bonaventure some of those oohs and ahhs was located in Rose Hill, tickled me pink.

Think you don't know John Walz? Well, maybe you do.  One statue he carved out of marble is pretty well known.  If you visit Bonaventure, you'll find directions pointing to it, and you will likely find a few people already there taking photos.  The statue is simply known as GRACIE.

July ' 07 028

Gracie died at a Savannah hotel run by her father.  She was about seven years old and suffered from pneumonia.  Gracie's father took a photo to John Walz, and asked him to carve a monument in her likeness.

The next several images (all from Bonaventure Cemetery) are of sculptures by John Walz.

Baldwin Family Memorial at Bonaventure Cemetery

Peter & Mary Schafer Angel at Bonaventure Cemetery

Hartmann Infants at Bonaventure Cemetery

This next couple of images are of the statue for Gertrude Bliss McMillan, placed about 1905.

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And, finally, images of Bertha Wolff's statue at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, Georgia.  It's a lot like Gertrude's.



More information about John Walz and Bertha Wolff can be found at the Rose Hill Cemetery blog.

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Nancy said…
I am enjoying your blogs. Thank you!
Darla M Sands said…
I adore Savannah. Lovely photos! Thank you for sharing.
S. Lincecum said…
Oh, me too, Darla. I've been exactly 3 times, but know for sure I could go again and again. Also enjoy Charleston, SC. Two of my favorites.
Tim said…
The Baldwin Angel that is looking into the scallop shell was carved by Henry Herring, according to the family who owns the plot.
T. said…
Hey Stephanie! This is Traci Rylands from Adventures in Cemetery Hopping. Did you know that there's another one he did like Bertha and the McMillan one over at Laurel Hill South? It's the John and Clara Davis monument, the only one with a statue on it. I thought he might have done Bertha's, too, but wasn't confirmed until I read your Rose Hill blog.
S. Lincecum said…
I did not know that, Traci. But once I saw a picture, there's no mistaking it! His work really is visible all over Savannah.

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