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Elaine Lustig Cohen Collection

About the Collection

Elaine Lustig Cohen (1927-2016) was a graphic design pioneer whose work seamlessly integrated modernism with European avant-garde influences. Her clients included Philip Johnson, for the signage of the Seagram Building, the Girl Scouts of America, Meridian Books, The Jewish Museum, Kootz Gallery, and General Motors. In 1969, she left commercial design to focus on her painting and collage work. She did sporadic design work for the rare book shop and gallery, Ex Libris, that she and her husband Arthur Cohen ran together until Arthur's death in 1986. (Ex Libris ran for another twelve years after that.) Cohen continued creating artworks, many of which display the same geometric abstraction of her early commercial design and typographic work. In 2011, she was awarded the AIGA medal. She died in 2016. The collection comprises mostly printed materials from Cohen's work as a graphic designer. Works include book jackets, exhibition catalogs, letterhead and other stationery, event invitations and announcements, and brochures.


The name Picasso printed vertically five times in alternating orange and pink. Kootz Gallery. Picasso, Five Master Works announcement, 1958.
Book jacket for In the Winter of Cities, title in all caps, sans serif, black type over three half green, half blue rectangles New Directions. In the Winter of Cities by Tennessee Williams, 1957.
A drawing of an owl in a tree made of a jumble of purple letters Holt, Rhinehart and Winston, Inc. advertisement, 1965.
USA styled vertically in alternating red and blue type XXXII Esposizione Biennale Internazionale d'Arte exhibition catalog, 1964.
The Jewish Museum Logo (a capital J and M) in red arranged in a six by two square on brown paper The Jewish Museum, Circulating Exhibitions brochure.
An abstract shape suggestive of a heart or a clover composed of alternating black and purple chevrons Dutton. Poems from Deal by David Shapiro book jacket, 1969
Book title styled vertically in white knockout type on a background that is half dark and half light brown. In the center, a white outline of a circle with a white dot offset to the right and the author's name, Jean Danielou, to the left. Meridian Books. God and the Ways of Knowing book jacket, 1957.
Nested squares in alternating red and pink A Selection of Works from the Art Collections at the University of Nebraska, exhibition catalog, 1963.
A long white card depicting dried orange slice studded with cloves, a plus sign, a wine label, an plus sign, a Courvoisier cognac label, an equals sign, time and location of party Elaine and Arthur Cohen New Year's Day Party invitation, 1957.
A yellow card with the word "hanukkah" repeated three times in purple The Jewish Museum, Hanukkah card, 1963.
Mondawmin Shopping Center Logo with photo of shopping center signage Identity for Mondawmin Shopping Center, Baltimore, c. 1963.
The name "Albany Report" flanking a plus sign made of four arrows Albany Report brochure, 1961.