Sonja Sekula

Video (3:49): Let Yourself Continue: Sonja Sekula. Jenny Anger, Professor, the Department Chair of Art History, Grinnell College Museum of Art, talks about two works by Sonja Sekula in their collection.

About Sonja Sekula

Sonja Sekula (1918-1963) (also known as Sonia Sekula) was an Swiss-American artist linked with the abstract expressionist movement, notable for her activity as an “out” lesbian in the New York art world during the 1940s and early 1950s. Her most productive years were when she was in New York from 1936-1955. On 25 April 1963, she hanged herself in her studio in Zurich after many years of mental health issues. Jenny Anger writes, ‘Swiss immigrant Sonja Sekula (1918–1963) enjoyed a brilliant early career at the crux of Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism in New York circa 1950. Mental illness interrupted that career, and in 1955 she was forced to move “home” to Switzerland for treatment, which was more affordable there than in the United States. Sekula’s exile led to a fatal disjunction between herself and her American artistic community, which never again received her work so sympathetically—and subsequently largely forgot her.’

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