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Elaine Lustig Cohen Collection

About the Collection

The collection comprises mostly printed materials from Cohen's work as a graphic designer. Major clients include Meridian Books, the Jewish Museum and the Kootz Gallery. Works include book jackets, exhibition catalogs, letterhead and other stationery, event invitations and announcements, and brochures. Elaine Lustig Cohen (1927-2016) was a graphic design pioneer whose work seamlessly integrated modernism with European avant-garde influences. Born in 1927 in Jersey City, NJ, she attended Tulane University and the University of Southern California, from which she graduated in 1948 with a fine arts degree. That summer, in Los Angeles, she met the designer Alvin Lustig, and the two were married in December of that year. Cohen worked as Lustig's assistant, setting type and preparing mechanicals, and the two relocated to New York in 1951. After Alvin Lustig's death in 1955, many of his clients asked Cohen to take over their contracts, including Philip Johnson, for the signage of the Seagram Building, the Girl Scouts of America, and Meridian Books, whose publisher, Arthur Cohen, she would eventually marry. Cohen continued to design book covers for Meridian Books until it was sold to World Publishing in 1960, after which she continued her work as a designer for The Jewish Museum, General Motors, and various other clients until 1969, when 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 Arthur 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.