Urgent Museum Notice

Hollis Sigler

A black-and-white photograph of a smiling adult light-skinned woman with dark, bobbed hair. She wears a dark high-neck garment with a large heart-shaped brooch at the neck, drop earrings, and dark eyeshadow. Behind her is a painting with two figures and a spiral staircase.

Photo by Melanie Ames Arnold; Courtesy of the photographer, © Melanie Ames Arnold

1948–2001

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.

Artist Details

  • Name

    Hollis Sigler
  • Birth

    Gary, Indiana, 1948
  • Death

    Prairie View, Illinois, 2001
  • Phonetic Spelling

    HAHL-iss SIHG-lerr