Hollis Sigler

1948–2001

Hollis Sigler created psychologically complex paintings, drawings, and prints grounded in personal experience.

Sigler said that she utilized a childlike, faux-naïf style as a reaction against a patriarchal culture that treated women as little more than children. Her style was also a means of conveying difficult emotional content in a way that viewers could easily understand.

Born in Gary, Indiana, Sigler earned her Master of Fine Arts from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago in 1973. Sigler established herself as part of Chicago’s art scene during a period when artists there were challenging New York City’s cultural hegemony. Familiar with Chicago’s Hairy Who group, which emphasized cartoons and other popular imagery, and the whimsical art of Florine Stettheimer, Sigler found quirky precedents for her own idiosyncratic approach.

In 1985, Sigler was diagnosed with breast cancer, which later spread to her bones. Her work from the 1990s until her death from cancer in 2001 dealt with the personal pain of the disease and its effect on society. In 2001, Sigler was honored with the College Art Association's Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the Chicago Caucus for Women in the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award.