Alison Jacques Gallery congratulates Sheila Hicks on receiving an honorary degree at the Yale University Commencement ceremony, 20 May 2019.
Hicks completed both her undergraduate and graduate studies at Yale: one of just three women to receive a bachelor of fine arts degree from the School of Art in 1957, she earned her master of fine arts two years later.
Born in Hastings, Nebraska, Hicks learned from her mother and grandmothers to draw, paint, spin, weave, dye, and sew. At Yale, Josef Albers and George Kubler became formative influences on her career, helping her to obtain a Fulbright Scholarship to Chile. From 1957 to 1958, Hicks visited almost all of the countries in South America, photographed archaeological sites, and taught in the architecture department of the Universidad Católica in Santiago. In 1959, Yale Professor Henri Peyre recommended her for a study grant to France, where she encountered the renowned scholar of Pre-Columbian textiles Raoul d’Harcourt. She later moved to Mexico to pursue painting and weaving, collaborating with indigenous artisans to create works for architectural projects. For more than 50 years Hicks has been based in Paris, where she established an atelier in 1964.