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Gallery Guide

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"The contemporary American folk art collection of John and Diane Balsley falls within a pattern of collections developed by artists. John is a sculptor, and his wife is a watercolorist. Their personal collection, consisting of several hundred sculptures, paintings, drawings, canes, whirligigs, furniture, and miscellaneous objects, is driven by an intense passion for the unusual artistic expression found in the work of individual visionaries rather than in the typical decorative craft objects of a traditional folk art community. This exhibition represents the first public showing of the collection. The Balsley Collection consists mainly of works of southern, Midwestern, and Appalachian artists primarily from the mid to late twentieth century. Over fifty percent of the works included in the exhibition are by black artists, with most of the remaining by white artists and a few by Native American and Hispanic descendants. The largest number of works are from the south central and south eastern United states."


Published version. Contemporary American Folk Art: The Balsley Collection. Milwaukee, WI: Patrick and Beatrice Haggerty Museum of Art, 1992. DOI. © 1992 Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University. Used with permission.