Project Description

Gladys Nilsson

Born in Chicago, the only child of a blue-collar Swedish immigrant parents, Gladys Nilsson remembers drawing as a major method of entertaining herself as a child. Before her teen years she won a small scholarship to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s after-school lecture/drawing classes, beginning her immersion into the very rich collection at the Art Institute of Chicago. This experience, and some timely encouragement from a high school art teacher, led Nilsson to decide to try to become an artist, an on graduating high school the SAIC was the only place to which she had applied. The SAIC already had a long reputation of being a place where independently thinking artists could develop and there Nilsson was able to experiment with media and style, and specifically recalls being intrigued by James Ensor’s biting satirical work, and the art of the German Expressionists.


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