William (Bill) Koelpin Jr., Wisconsin Original Artist/Carver

A Decoy Corner Article by Bruce Urben, President

Bill, Jr with one of his winning decoys at the 2018 WWA Decoy Carving Contest

We all know about William Koelpin, Sr. and his legacy of sporting decoy carvings, paintings and bronzes that still warm the hearts of those lucky enough to have one of his pieces in their collection. But, along with his art, Bill Sr. left something even more important – offspring that grew up with a deep appreciation for art!

Bill Koelpin, Jr. was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1959. Bill Jr. was the oldest of the 3 Koelpin children and was exposed at an early age to the powerful combination of nature and art. Bill was an excellent student to his teacher (Bill Sr.) and has impressive abilities to capture images carved in wood or painted on canvas. His decoys are floating sculptures.

As a teenager, Bill Jr. entered many decoy carving competitions across the country and has won nearly every event he entered. Bill still finds time for competition even though he is busy with commissions for his work.Bill Jr. resides in Oconomowoc with his wife Marie and his dogs, Parker and Chester who both love to bird hunt. His work can be seen on his website at Americansportingarts.net and you can contact Bill at koelpinjunior.artist@gmail.com. I was told that there is a time lag to get a completed Koelpin Decoy but order early to get on his list.

Bill’s decoys are carved to capture life like nature poses of his models and lifelike duplication of each species coloration and size. His attention to detail brings each decoy to life whether on the shelf or in the water.Bill generally carves in basswood, but also uses jelutong, Tupelo, pine and white cedar. He paints in both acrylic and artist oils. Each decoy is clearly signed and dated. Bill Jr. is truly another Wisconsin Original and his carvings are in high demand by collectors and waterfowlers who crave the nostalgia of hunting over handcarved decoys.

Bill Jr. is certainly carrying on the Koelpin tradition in fine sporting art with his own style and composition. If you are a collector you will have a Koelpin Jr. decoy on your shelf to display and admire.