McCallum & Halsey: At Home and Abroad

Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts, Wofford College, Spartanburg, SC
September 1, 2022 – December 15, 2022

Married for sixty years, Corrie McCallum (1914–2009) and William Halsey (1915–1999) forged independently successful artistic careers, acclaimed professional paths that were, in turn, complementary and distinct. Having found meager instructional support for modernism in the South’s traditional collegiate art programs, the native South Carolinians transferred to the esteemed School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. This move marked the first of many expeditions McCallum and Halsey would undertake to cultivate their creativity. In 1939, the museum school awarded Halsey a prestigious fellowship that funded the couple’s inaugural foreign excursion, an eighteen-month tenure in Mexico.

Over the course of their decades together, McCallum and Halsey traveled extensively—individually and in unison—often eschewing conventional destinations for locations like Central and South America, the Caribbean, North Africa, and Southeast Asia. These trips offered opportunities to study, teach, sketch, and, most importantly, to absorb a region’s culture and landscape. The impact of these experiences is borne out in both artists’ output, evidenced by the use of innovative media, bold palettes, and a mutual shift toward abstraction.  

By necessity, the couple’s personal and professional lives were based in Charleston, South Carolina, where they raised three children and were active in the local community. Early on, Halsey had determined that he and McCallum might be “vastly more useful” in their home state rather than metropolitan art centers. Picturesque Charleston provided ample inspiration for the duo resulting in contemporary interpretations of the historic city. Equally committed to their birthplace and to the distant locales they visited, McCallum and Halsey melded these contradictory inclinations in their modernist pedagogy and vigorous exhibition activity across the country.

With works dating between 1931 and 1992, At Home and Abroad invites viewers to enjoy the familiar imagery of the Carolina Lowcountry and—as noted in the pair’s 1971 publication A Travel Sketchbook—the fascinating “people and places around the world” that influenced their art.

On view at the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts, Wofford College, Spartanburg, SC, please go to the museum's website for the most up-to-date information on hours and other programming.