"H" is for Halsey, William Melton (1915-1999)

Nov 13, 2020

Credit SC Public Radio

"H" is for Halsey, William Melton (1915-1999). Artist. A Charleston native, Halsey returned home after completing his education at Tufts University in Boston. Unlike his predecessors who emphasized charm and sunlight in their portrayals of Charleston, Halsey reveled in the decay, colors, and textures offered by the old city. It was precisely these qualities that inspired the non-representational work that dominated his mature output. Instead of painting conventionally on canvas, he elected to use Masonite, which provided a firm backing for his frequent reworkings of the surface. The firmness of the support was advantageous when he added collage elements such as old paint rags, torn and stained bits of his own clothing, and African textiles. About 1960 William Melton Halsey began to translate his collages into three-dimensional sculptures made from scraps of wood and later metal.