Other Name: Sigrid Koenig Lochner (née Koening)
I hope my paintings ask and answer.”
– Sigrid Lochner
(Exhibition catalogue, “Paintings by Sigrid Koenig Lochner,”
London Regional Art Gallery, February 7 – March 15, 1981)
Sigrid Lochner (née Koenig) was born in Dresden, Germany (at that time, East Germany or the German Democratic Republic). Lochner was influenced by her paternal grandmother who bestowed upon her an appreciation of nature.
Dresden was bombed by the Allied forces in 1944, not long after Lochner married her first husband. Lochner and her husband both lost family members. The couple also lost their home and all of their possessions. In addition, the home of Lochner’s father was taken by Russian soldiers, leaving the family (Lochner, her husband, her infant son, and her father) to live in a maid’s quarters.
Lochner worked in her father’s office in Dresden for several years instead of going to college. In her late twenties, she began to study painting at the Dresden Academy of Arts, with a focus on murals. As a student, Lochner’s daily routine at the Academy was regimented. Painting studio began every morning at exactly 8:00am. Students would paint from live models until noon, and then from cast models of body parts (ears, hands, etc.) in the afternoon. In addition to painting, there were classes in other subjects such as architecture, art history, chemistry, social studies, Marxism, Leninism, and Russian. The Academy encouraged expressionism and realism but was opposed to any Western influences. Students were told not to visit any art galleries in West Germany. However, after her basic art studies were completed – and without money to study further – Lochner rode to West Berlin on her bicycle to view art and architecture there. As a result of this visit, she was prohibited from working for the East German government – and in fact, lost a position she had previously secured.
While Lochner could have stayed in East Germany and joined a guild, her art would have been regulated as a result. She instead decided to move to Munich and was granted a travel visa to do so. After spending the Winter with relatives there, Lochner went to Stutgart, where she spent approximately two-and-a-half years providing care for the children of an American family.
Sigrid Lochner came to Canada in 1958. Now living in Toronto, Ontario, Lochner continued to paint while she supported her practice by child-minding and house-cleaning. She took an art class, where she received praise for her portrait painting.
In 1960, Lochner was employed at The Artist’s Workshop in Toronto. In 1964, Lochner held her first exhibition in Canada, a two-person show at the Toronto Central Library.
By this time, Lochner was married to her second husband (the couple would have a son), and the pair spent a few years in Windsor, Ontario, before her husband’s office transferred him to London, Ontario in 1965.
Lochner flourished in the London art community. She studied printmaking at H.B. Beal Secondary School in 1970, after which she purchased her own printing press that she would sometimes rent out to other artists.
After teaching for London’s Board of Education and Public Utilities Commission (P.U.C.), Lochner then taught for Fanshawe College from 1976 to 1990, at first teaching introductory skills before shifting to instruction in portraiture. Lochner also served for a number of years as a tour guide at the London Public Library and Art Museum (a precursor to Museum London, located on Queen’s Ave.).
Sigrid Lochner’s work appeared in shows across Ontario, including in Toronto, Sarnia, at the London Regional Art Gallery (today Museum London), the Woodstock Art Gallery, and the Lynnwood Art Centre in Simcoe, as well as internationally in the United States and Germany. She won the “Best of Show” award at the 8th Annual Autumn Festival of the Arts in Toronto, Ontario (1971) for the painting, printing, and batik category, the “Award of Merit” at the Western Fair in London for 1973, 1974, and 1975, and the “Best Print” at the 1975 Western Fair.
Sigrid Lochner passed away in 2015 in London, Ontario.
Biography by Meghan O’Neill
Lochner, Sigrid “Women Artists Oral History Interview Series.” Interview by Diana C. Coates, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives, March 20, 1986, transcript.
London Art Gallery. London Painting Now (A Survey of London Painting, first in a series of 4 survey exhibitions) (January 9 – February 1, 1976). London, Ontario: London Art Gallery, 1976. Exhibition catalogue.
London Regional Art Gallery. Paintings by Sigrid Koenig Lochner (February 7 – March 15, 1981). London, Ontario: London Regional Art Gallery, 1981. Exhibition catalogue.
MacDonald, Colin S. “Lochner, Sigrid.” A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, v.4, Little-Myles. 3rd ed. Ottawa, Ontario: Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd., 1979.
Reid, Rob. “Lochner show reflects her anguish.” Brantford Expositor, November 9, 1984.
Thomson, Lorraine. Sigrid Koenig Lochner: Biography. May 2010.
McIntosh Gallery Curatorial Studies Centre.
“Sigrid Lochner.” The London Free Press, Londoner, December 3, 2015.
Click here for information about works by Sigrid Lochner
in McIntosh Gallery’s collection