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Historic Fine Art

Discover our historic works for yourself

The Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection

The Whitworth is home to one of the most significant public collections of Outsider Art in the UK, The Musgrave Kinley Outsider Collection.

It consists of over 1153 individual artworks by over 129 artists, brought together by curator Monika Kinley and gallerist and curator Victor Musgrave over a period of 30 years (1979-2010). 

Feeling that most contemporary art was ‘bland and supine in the well-crafted chains of its own making’, Musgrave and Kinley chose instead to seek out and collect artworks that they felt were genuinely original and intuitive: art that ‘tapped into the mains electricity of the imagination’. These are works by so-called ‘Outsider artists’, strikingly original artworks produced by individuals belonging to no movement or school, who are self-taught and marginalised from the ‘mainstream’ art world.

Works in the collection include a Henry Darger triptych, Aloïse Corbaz’s Palais Rumine, Madge Gill’s spiritualist ink drawings, Albert Louden’s pastels, Judith Scott’s woven sculptures and significant works by Pascal Verbena, Scottie Wilson and Carlo Zinelli.

The collection was gifted to the Whitworth in 2010 by Monika Kinley and the Trustees of the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection, facilitated by the Contemporary Art Society. In 2016, funded by an Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund grant, the Whitworth commenced an 18 month project to document, digitise, conserve and re-home the MKOAC. By October 2018 all artworks in the collection will be accessible via the Whitworth’s online collections catalogue with images (copyright allowing).

Discover the fascinating works in the MKOAC yourself by searching our collection or subscribing to the Musgrave Kinley Collection Blog.

Please note while many of our exhibitions are made up from works in our permanent collection, the Whitworth does not have works from the MKOAC on permanent display. To view specific works from our collection, contact the relevant member of the curatorial team to book an appointment in our Study centre.