William Halsey (1915-1999) lived in Charleston, South Carolina, for most of his life. Unlike most resident artists who preceded him and many who followed, Halsey did not paint picturesque scenes of his native city. Halsey was a modernist in a city known for its traditional beauty and romance. In this visual arts irony, he found his inspiration. This catalog celebrates his life and legacy.
Upon graduation from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Halsey and his wife, artist Corrie McCallum, lived in Mexico and Savannah before their permanent move to Charleston. Halsey forged a vital connection between South Carolina and the larger world of modern art. His abstract paintings, collages, sculptures, and assemblages reflected the city's colors, textures, and geometry. He literally incorporated Charleston into his work through his use of found, everyday objects. Through his work as an art teacher in Charleston, his twenty-year career at the College of Charleston, and his rigorous exhibition schedule, Halsey promoted contemporary advanced art throughout the South. Today, he is widely revered as one of the most important artists in South Carolina's history.