Hollis Sigler


Hollis Sigler

Hollis Sigler was an educator, activist, and pioneering feminist artist, who lived and worked in Chicago. Born in Gary, Indiana, Sigler was formally trained at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, and earned her Master of Fine Arts from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago in 1973.

Sigler favored subjects related to women’s experiences of love, family, and the domestic sphere. She often conjured up intimate interiors, suburban backyards, or vacation hideaways in which household objects or a shadowy figure she called “the Lady” serve as stand-ins for real people. 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.

Sigler adopted her appealing faux naïf painting style (one that identifies with the naïve or untrained approach practiced by self-trained artists) as a means to encourage viewers to engage with the emotional content of her works, and as a reaction against a patriarchal culture that treated women as little more than children.

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.

Public collections of Sigler’s include the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Honolulu Museum of Art; the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC; and the Seattle Art Museum.