The story behind
Elaine Lustig Cohen (1927 - 2016) was an artist, graphic designer and founder of Ex Libris, a bookshop specializing in the 20th-century avant-garde. In 1955, she began her design career in New York by extending the idiom of European modernism into an American context for a diverse clientele of publishers, cultural institutions and architects. As a painter, Lustig Cohen developed a hard-edged style in the 1960s and 1970s that asserted the canvas’ flat surface. She continued to experiment with bold colors and abstract shapes in a variety of media including collage, portraits and three-dimensional objects.
Philip Johnson – architect of the celebrated Glass House (1949) in New Canaan, Connecticut – became Lustig Cohen’s first client when he commissioned her to design the lettering and signage for the Seagram Building. The two forged an important bond that resulted in a variety of projects for the Glass House, Yale University and Lincoln Center, among others. Inspired by Lustig Cohen’s 2015 exhibition of painting and graphic design at the Glass House, Pierre-Alexis Dumas, artistic director of Hermès, met the artist and designed a scarf based on her original work Centered Rhyme (1967). This project was carried out in collaboration with The Glass House (and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the scarf will go towards the preservation of this iconic modernist house, a National Trust for Historic Preservation site).

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