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Women's History Month - Highlighting Edith Varian Cockcroft (1881-1962)

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

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. 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 far away as Moscow 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.” 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.

Edith made Sloatsburg her home for several decades. The house and studio; which have beautiful views of the Ramapo River and Sloat's Pond, still stand. She hosted local and NY social luminaries of the day. Society pages of the day reported on what events Edith did attend and what she wore. Edith was a prolific ceramicist. The large output of her signature dinner service and decorative objects required finishing artists at the studio. The following local Sloatsburg residents played a vital role in running the Cockcroft Studio: Gladys Tallman, Bentley, Jean Zamboni Lapola, Gertrude Muryn Becraft and George Macrum an accomplished American impressionist painter in his own right.

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