National Museum of Women in the Arts
Sheila Isham
1927 - present
Photograph of Sheila Isham in her studio, 1986, by Martin Brett Axon, courtesy of the artist
Place of Birth:
New York
Phonetic Spelling:
SHEE-lah EE-shahm
Minority status:
White non-Hispanic
Work Type/Media:
Drawings and prints, Painting
Artistic Role(s):
Painter, Printmaker
Abstract Expressionism
Artist's Biography:
Shelia Isham’s creative world is firmly established. Married to a career diplomat, she has spent the greater part of her life abroad and enjoys her greatest artistic reputation in lands other than her homeland—in India, China and Haiti, in France and Russia.

Her involvement in the culture of each country where she has had to spend any great length of time was by no means episodic or superficial. In each situation she plunged deeply into the culture in a way that profoundly influenced her inner world. As Isham notes, her travels form an “inner road map” of spiritual exploration practices, Haitian mythology—all these sources have done much to inspire her. Yet, even while taking much from the visual world and philosophy of those lands where fate decreed that she spend many years, absorbing what she calls “the shock of coming to terms with different cultures,” Isham remains nonetheless an American artist, returning each time enriched to the American cultural sphere.

Biography courtesy of Sheila Isham

Other Occupation(s):
Author, Educator, Teacher, Traveler
Place(s) of Residence:
New York
Where Trained/Schools:
Private calligraphy lessons, Hong Kong, China (1962-1965) Hochshule Für Bildende Künste, Berlin, Germany (1950-1954) Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA, USA (1950) University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland (1948-1949)
Related Visual Artists:
student of Feng Kang-Ho
Fellowships, grants and awards:
J and ER Pennell Purchase Prize, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, USA (1960-1961) Print Award, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA (1958)
Earliest exhibition:
Galerie Springer, Berlin, Germany (1954)
NMWA exhibition(s):
Sheila Isham's "The Victory Series"
Artist retrospective(s):
Sheila Isham, Mikhailovsky Castle (St. Michael’s Palace), St. Petersburg, Russia (2004)
Lin, the Approach