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Remembering Elaine Lustig Cohen, 1927–2016

On October 4th, the Cary Collection lost our friend and generous donor, Elaine Lustig Cohen. The Cary Graphic Design Archive was very fortunate to have a long connection with Elaine Lustig Cohen. Her generosity dates back to 1986 when she donated work by her late husband, Alvin Lustig and continued to 2015 with donations of her creative work along with materials related to other designers. Her multi-faceted career as an artist/designer is documented in the 2014 RIT Press publication, by Aaris Sherin entitled Elaine Lustig Cohen: Modernism Reimagined. Below are two short personal remembrances by Kari Horowicz, Librarian for RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, and Megan Moltrup, Museum Studies, RIT Class of 2014.

I have known Elaine Lustig Cohen for over 10 years – visiting her at her lovely home in New York City’s East side to pick up archival collections of Alvin Lustig, along with her creative work. I always brought a bouquet of tulips and we talked in her kitchen while she put them in a vase – she asked me how I was doing and we talked about art exhibits, bookstores, yoga, and creativity. She was keenly interested in what we were doing to promote the RIT Graphic Design Archives, as a whole. She was an artist, designer, book collector, archivist, and educator. I feel very fortunate to have worked with Elaine on the exhibit Elaine Lustig Cohen: Voice & Vision, co-curated with Megan Moltrup. Elaine appreciated Megan’s interestin her work and the two truly connected.
Kari Horowicz

My first memories of Elaine Lustig Cohen are from 2012, when I began working at the Cary Graphic Arts Collection’s Graphic Design Archives. While choosing a topic for my senior thesis, I was struck by her independence and talent. Elaine was a natural choice for my project. Working on the exhibition Elaine Lustig Cohen: Voice & Vision allowed me to learn more about an artist that I already thoroughly admired. While researching my thesis and the exhibition, I learned about the context in which she created many of her works. Additionally, I was lucky enough to speak with her on a few occasions, where she shared stories from her eclectic career. It was wonderful to see first-hand her passion for art and design and her excitement to share it with others. – Megan Moltrup*

We will miss her elegance, kindness, and strength.

*Megan is pictured with Elaine in this story's photograph.