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He started to find his “hidden creative interest” 40 years ago while volunteering for the museum’s annual art festival. He bought his first art there from well-known Wisconsin artists. His interests expanded to self-taught artists, and his taste matured.

He considers his purchases of Traylor’s “Brown Mule” and Wallis‘ “Green Sails” in early 1990 as his first quality pieces by self-taught artists.

He said he probably has about 100 more in his houses in Milwaukee and Scottsdale, Ariz., that he considers museum-quality. He estimates he has bought 600 to 700 pieces of art.

Petullo said he always knew his collection would go to a museum and decided in the 1990s it would go to the Milwaukee museum _ about the time he successfully convinced officials there to show his collection.

Petullo said knows he has a good piece of art when he can look at it for years.

“If I can’t stop and admire that and say, `Wow, that’s really good,’ and smile, usually then I shouldn’t have bought it,” he said.