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Sloatsburg, N.Y.—The Friends of Harmony Hall in Sloatsburg are pleased to present an October 14 lecture by the historian Eve M. Kahn, a longtimeNew York Timescontributor, about the forgotten painter, inventor, couturier, textile designer and ceramist Edith Varian Cockcroft (1881-1962).

 

Cockcroft, a Brooklyn native, studied art with William Merritt Chase and traveled widely in Europe before World War I. Critics lauded her atmospheric views of French and British coastal villages and portraits of nudes against vibrant fabric backdrops. Le Figaroobserved that she succeeded at depicting peasant life with “ardor or roughness,” and the New York Timespraised the “character and vigor” of her work. (And many reviewers mistook her for a man, since she invariably left her first name off her signatures on canvas.) She exhibited at venues including the Paris Salon, the National Academy of Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Art Institute of Chicago. Collectors as elite as Moscow’s Ivan Morosov acquired her work.

 

In the 1920s, she ran a Manhattan couture studio and patented methods for printing silk, in patterns partly based on Javanese batiks. Her blouse-making kits were marketed nationwide as a “silk sensation,” and her clothes were worn by the performers Irene Castle and Jeanette MacDonald. In the 1930s, she moved to Sloatsburg, where she kept painting—from Europe to Haiti—and designing textiles while also producing dinnerware sets in metallic glazes.

 

Kahn has uncovered interviews with Cockcroft and reminiscences from people who knew her. The lecture, accompanied by a small exhibition of Edith’s artworks, will also explore unsolved mysteries about Edith’s career and personal life.

 

For details about the October 14 event, 2 to 4 pm with refreshments, atHarmony Hall-Jacob Sloat House, an 1848 mansion built by industrialist Jacob Sloat, see https://www.friendsofharmonyhall.org.

Press contact: Eve Kahn, evemkahn@gmail.com