Anthony Petullo has collected 300 self-taught European works that have been donated to the Milwaukee Art Museum for an exhibition called Accidental Genius: The Anthony Petullo Collection. This event started Feb. 10 and is going on until May 6, 2012. Accidental Genius features more than 200 pieces of work by many important European and American artists, including Alfred Wallis Adolf Wolfli, Anna Zemankova, Bill Traylor, Friedrich Schroder-Sonnenstern, Henry Darger, Martin Ramirez, and Minnie Evans.
Anastasia Nicholas, an observer of the exhibition, stated, “This exhibition is really interesting and all the artwork is very unusual with a twist and I enjoyed viewing it."
Self-taught artists usually learn their skills independently with common knowledge instead of in an educational setting, which allows the artist to have freedom with their imagination. Most of the artists in Anthony Petullo’s Collection are shown in depth. A man by the name of Scottie Wilson (1891-1872), featured artist in the exhibition, started doodling on a table in the back room of his business. As soon as he realized his passion for art he quit his business and devoted all his time to his work. He started making tableware designs for Royal Worcester Porcelain Company.
Anthony Petullo built his collection throughout three decades. Work from his collection has been on display all through the country. Museum exhibitions and various objects have been loaned to museums and galleries around the world. Petullo is an entrepreneur, author, and retired Milwaukee businessman. He is a longtime member of the museum’s Board of Directors and the Museum’s Exhibitions Committee.
Milwaukee Art Museum celebrates the wonderful gift of more than 300 works from the Anthony Petullo Collection for the exhibition. The generous gift greatly enhances the Milwaukee Art Museums’ important assets of self-taught masterpieces. The collection’s strength is in European work, a place represented in few American collections.
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