Elaine Lustig Cohen
Elaine Lustig Cohen has served a long and yet continuing career as an artist. Whether painting, printmaking, graphic design, typography, collages, sculpting, or collecting it, she’s done them all. The art world has seen her as a very active figure in the past five decades and it all began after she received her BFA from the University of Southern California in the mid 1940s.
She began her career working with her first husband, the famed designer, Alvin Lustig. It was from the method he used to redesign the Arts and Architecture in the 1930s, that she developed her inspiration for the Euclid alphabet.
By the 1960s, she had developed herself into a highly successful and very influential graphic designer and was being asked to work for clients such as Philip Johnson, a leading architect of the century. It wasn’t until the 1960s that she decided to take up painting, and in 1972, she founded her bookstore and gallery, Ex Libris, with the help of her second husband, the publisher Arthur Cohen, and was able to maintain it for nearly thirty years.
In 1979, she became the first woman to ever have a solo exhibition at the Mary Boone Gallery in Southern California, and at just over fifty years of age, her career was still in full force. Large–scale abstract paintings became one of her next focuses, until she began to use found photos and ephemeral material collected over the years to create clever and complex collages. Cohen has immersed herself in a variety of mediums throughout her career and her style has led her to be considered an inheritor of Modernism. Although she has learned from and reacted to many facets of art history, her training and early experiences always related to modernism.