Published: February 14, 2018
PALM BEACH, FLA. — Erving Wolf, oil and gas pioneer, art collector and lover of the West, died peacefully on February 6 at his home in Palm Beach. Erving was born in Kimball, Neb., in 1926 and raised in Cheyenne, Wyo., where his father, Leon, was the tailor on the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base.
Erving Wolf served as an officer in the Navy while stationed in Guam during World War II. He received bachelor degrees from Northwestern University and Notre Dame, and earned a law degree from Northwestern University. He practiced law in Cheyenne before being drawn to the oil and gas industry.
In 1951, the same year he married Joyce Mandel, he founded the Wolf Land Company, which later became the Inexco Oil Company. Under Erving’s leadership, Inexco discovered Wyoming’s 200-million-barrel Hilight Oil Field and its four-trillion-cubic-foot Madden Gas Field, one of the largest natural gas reserves in the United States, as well as the Key Lake Uranium Mine in Saskatchewan, Canada, which once produced 15 percent of the world’s uranium.
Wolf and his wife assembled a singular collection of art whose breadth spans Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century American paintings, drawings, sculpture and furniture, as well as Chinese porcelains. In 1980, the couple endowed the Erving and Joyce Wolf Gallery at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art for special exhibitions of American art. In 2001, the museum made him an honorary trustee.
“His wise counsel and warm spirit will be missed,” Metropolitan Museum of Art chairman Daniel Brodsky and president and CEO Daniel H. Weiss wrote in a published tribute.
The couple also loaned and gave sculpture to the Denver Art Museum and to the National Gallery of Art in honor of their late daughter, Diane Wolf. With his brothers, Wolf donated the Leon and Dora Wolf Law Building at the University of Colorado School of Law, in honor of their parents.
Wolf is survived by wife of 66 years; his sons Daniel and Mathew and their wives Maya and Ann; his grandchildren India, Rachel, Daisy, Henry and Benjamin; and brother, Marvin.
A celebration of his life will be held at a later date in New York City. Donations in his memory may be made to the Dr Martin Kahn Endowment at NYU Langone Medical Center.
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