Sybil Gibson

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Sybil Gibson
Sybil Gibson.jpg
Born Sybil Aaron
(1908-02-18)February 18, 1908
Dora, Alabama, United States
Died January 2, 1995(1995-01-02) (aged 86)
Florida, United States
Nationality American
Education Self taught
Known for Painting
Movement Outsider art, Naive

Sybil Gibson (February 18, 1908 – January 2, 1995) was an American painter. Born Sybil Aaron in Dora, Alabama, her father was a wealthy coal mine owner and farmer. She was educated at Jacksonville State Teachers College, earning a B.S. in Elementary Education, before going on to become a teacher.[1] The Estate of Sybil Gibson was represented by Woodward Gallery from 2010 to 2015.[2]


For much of her adult life she had no interest in painting, having had her ambitions crushed when a college art teacher told her she had no talent.[3] However, on Thanksgiving Day 1963, aged 55, Gibson took to creating her own wrapping paper designs using tempera paint and brown paper grocery bags. This led to a fascination with creating art which lasted until her death.[4] Howell Raines wrote in June 1971 that "the paintings are not over-powering, they are truly fragile in the best sense. The colors are very delicate, and while Sybil Gibson's work is figurative, her realism is tempered with a certain dream-like quality."[5] Gibson chose to paint limited subject matter - mainly concentrating on the human form, particularly faces, as well as flowers, birds and small animals[6] Her style is considered 'folk art', and she is regarded as an outsider, or naïve artist.[1]

In May 1971, shortly before the opening of her first art exhibition, at the Miami Museum of Modern Art, Gibson disappeared, leaving drawings strewn about her yard.[7] An eccentric woman, Gibson disappeared several times.[4] Around 300 of her paintings are believed to exist in museums and private collections, although many more have been destroyed after being strewn around outside her home when she disappeared.[4]

Gibson's work has been exhibited in more than fifty one-woman exhibitions.[8] Her work is featured in the collections of the Museum of Art, Alabama; the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Alabama; the Museum of American Folk Art, New York City and the New Orleans Museum of Art in Louisiana.[9]

Personal life and death[edit]

She married Hugh Gibson in 1929, with whom she raised a daughter. Despite her prosperous upbringing, she spent much of her adult life living in poverty.[4]

In the 1940s she left Alabama and moved to Florida. She moved back to Alabama in the 1970s.[citation needed]

Late in life her daughter arranged for Gibson to return to Florida, where she had an operation to restore her sight. She died in 1995, aged 86.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "Sybil Gibson". Ask Art. Retrieved 2007-12-23. 
  2. ^ "Sybil Gibson - Biography". Retrieved 2007-12-23. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Sybil Gibson". Marcia Weber Art Objects. Retrieved 2007-12-23. 
  4. ^ Howell Raines (1971-06-20). "Here she is, Miami Herald, in Birmingham". The Birmingham News. p. E1. 
  5. ^ "Sybil Gibson (1908–1995)". Robert Cargo Folk Art Gallery. Retrieved 2007-12-23. 
  6. ^ "Sybil Gibson 1908–1995". Anton Art. Retrieved 2007-12-23. 
  7. ^ "Sybil Gibson". Ginger Young Gallery. Archived from the original on December 17, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-23. 
  8. ^ "Portrait of a Woman by Sybil Gibson - intuitive eye". Retrieved 2017-03-25.