Tory Folliard Gallery to Show John Wilde’s Seldom Seen Early Works

Ten years after John Wilde’s death, his family discovered a cache of early paintings by the accomplished artist.

Untitled by John Wilde. Mixed media on masonite 9 1/2 x 7 1/2″. Image courtesy of Tory Folliard Gallery.

A pioneer in the American Surrealist movement, John Wilde was one of the most prominent artists in the Midwest. Now, the Tory Folliard Gallery will soon exhibit a collection of his significant drawings and paintings from the 1940s and ’50s in John Wilde: The Early Works. Several of these pieces were momentous in his career and have rarely been seen before.

Wilde died of cancer 10 years ago in Evansville, Wis. Over the past summer, the Wilde family unearthed a trove of his early paintings that had been hidden in the artist’s home. This discovery, they say, imparts new information on Wilde’s artistic evolution.

Dr. Robert Cozzolino, the Patrick and Aimee Butler Curator of Paintings at the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, was a personal friend of Wilde throughout the last ten years of his life. Cozzolino serves as the preeminent authority on the artist and is the author of the exhibition catalog.

According to Cozzolino, “Wilde’s early work is little known even among those who are familiar with the artist.”

The exhibition will be open from Nov. 19 to Dec. 31. The opening reception on Nov. 19 runs from 1-4 p.m., with a talk by Cozzolino at 2 p.m.




Elisabeth Wallock is a contributing digital editor at Milwaukee Magazine. She graduated from Colorado State University and has interned at Marie Claire in New York and Urban Outfitters in London.