More about Sylvia Sleigh


Sylvia Sleigh was a feminist artist best known for turning traditional portraiture on it head by painting nude men as a reclining Venus or odalisque.

Unlike Ingres, Titian, and countless other male artists who painted female nudes as unconscious, helpless, objects of desire, she strove to present the sexes as equal. Her men are sensitive, intelligent, and thoughtful.

In 2007, when asked if women had achieved greater gender equality in the art world, she responded that although women had made great strides in the government and corporate world, it was still very difficult in the art world for a woman to find a gallery.

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The Turkish Bath (1973)

The Turkish Bath (1862) by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

Sylvia Sleigh (8 May 1916 – 24 October 2010) was a Welsh-born naturalised American realist painter who lived and worked in New York City. She is known for her role in the feminist art movement and especially for reversing traditional gender roles in her paintings of nude men, often using conventional female poses from historical paintings by male artists like Diego Vélazquez, Titian, and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Her most well-known subjects were art critics, feminist artists, and her husband, Lawrence Alloway.

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