Sheila Hicks: The Enigma

April 19, 2016

LAMA’s May 22, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction will feature a monumental wall hanging by the fiber artist Sheila Hicks. A 1975 architectural commission composed of cotton and applied wrapped cordage, the piece is a stunning example of Hicks’s genius and makes up one of contemporary art’s most captivating and enigmatic bodies of work.

Sheila Hicks, Untitled (1975) May 22, 2016
Lot 200, Sheila Hicks, Untitled (1975)
May 22, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

The art of Sheila Hicks defies simple categorization. It has the presence and structure of sculpture, yet manifests a painterly fluency with color, sweeping form, and surface. Her work exudes the warmth and humanity of the handcrafted object, but at the same time has the cool detachment of modernist abstraction. Hicks’s art almost demands to be described in terms of music and literature. The present lot contains visual rhythm—a syncopated jazz phrase made physical. Hicks’s work is so resonant with meaning, so open to varied interpretation, that it could qualify as poetry.

Sheila Hicks, Untitled (detail) (1975) May 22, 2016
Lot 200, Sheila Hicks, Untitled (detail) (1975)
May 22, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Hicks began making monumental wall hangings such as the present lot for installation in public spaces in the 1960s. They have been commissioned for buildings by such architectural giants of the past fifty years as Eero Saarinen, Ricardo Legorreta, and Kevin Roche. Rarely do they become available to the private collector.


Lot Information:

Lot 200
Sheila Hicks
Cotton and applied wrapped cordage
Retains the emblem of Galerie Alice Pauli
Approximately 44” x 254”
This work was commissioned by Winston-Salem Savings and Loan Building in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The work was woven by the artist in Kerala, South India and finished in her Paris, France atelier.

Provenance: Winston-Salem Savings and Loan Building, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Private Collection, North Carolina (acquired directly from the above)

Estimate: $40,000–$60,000

May 22, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

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