Skip to main content

Sidney Simon papers, circa 1917-2002, bulk 1940-1997

Biographical Note

Sidney Simon (1917-1997) was a sculptor, painter, and educator who worked primarily in New York City and Truro, Massachusetts. Simon was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the age of 14, he won a place as a special student at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1934 and from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1936. Simon also studied at the Barnes Foundation from 1937-1940. Simon received professional recognition early in his career; he was awarded the Prix de Rome Collaborative Prize in 1939 and the Edwin Austin Abbey Fellowship in mural painting in 1945.
In 1941, Simon enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the Army Corps of Engineers. Assigned to MacArthur's headquarters as an official war artist for the Southwest Pacific Theater, Simon was chosen to paint the signing of the peace treaty between the U.S. and Japan aboard the U.S.S. Missouri. He was discharged from the army with a Bronze Star and five presidential citations. In 1945, along with Bill Cummings and Henry Varnum Poor, Simon co-founded the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, where he later served as a director and a member of the Board of Governors. By the mid-1950s, Simon's interest shifted from painting to sculpture, creating works in wood, clay, and other media. Over the years, Simon collaborated with architects on a number of public and private commissions, including the doorway for the Downstate Medical Center, the Jewish Chapel at West Point, a playground sculpture for Prospect Park, and the totemic column for the Temple Beth Abraham. In addition to serving on the faculty at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Simon also taught at the Art Students League, Brooklyn Museum, and Parsons School of Design. An active champion of artists' rights, Simon established the New York Artists Equity Association. He participated in solo and group shows at the Graham Gallery, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, and the Sculptors Guild, among other venues.
In 1997, Sidney Simon died at the age of 80 in Truro, Massachusetts. Simon was divorced from Joan Crowell in 1964. He is survived by his wife, Renee Adriance Simon and five children from his first and second marriages.