top of page

The Forgotten Artist Edith Varian Cockcroft: as told by Eve M. Kahn & Peter Bush

Crossroads to History focused on the forgotten painter, inventor, couturier, textile designer & ceramist Edith Varian Cockcroft (1881-1962). Eve M. Kahn (Art Historian & New York Times contributor) will be on hand to tell us about what she has uncovered, including interviews with Cockcroft & reminiscences from people who knew her.

Cockcroft, a Brooklyn native, studied art with William Merritt Chase & traveled widely in Europe before World War I. Critics lauded her atmospheric views of French & British coastal villages & portraits of nudes against vibrant fabric backdrops. Le Figaro observed that she succeeded at depicting peasant life with "ardor or roughness," & the New York Times praised 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 such as 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, Cockcroft 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 will give a lecture during a small exhibition of Edith’s artworks at Harmony Hall on October 14, 2018 at 2pm. For information, go to…roft-lecture.

62 views0 comments


bottom of page