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Book Cover, United States of America, XXXII International Biennial Exposition of Art, Venice, Italy, 1964

This is a book cover. It was designed by Elaine Lustig Cohen. It is dated 1964 and we acquired it in 1993. Its medium is offset lithograph on paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

Elaine Lustig Cohen became a successful graphic designer in the 1950s and 1960s, a time when the field was still nascent in the United States and few women were part of it. She had trained as a fine artist and worked in the office of her husband Alvin Lustig, the renowned modernist graphic designer, as a secretary and paste-up girl but she never designed in that time. Upon his death in 1955, she took over his commissions, receiving an immediate entree into the field, and soon began earning her own work and opened a one-person home studio. Fascinated by European avant-garde art, Cohen incorporated this sensibility into her designs. This book cover for the catalog of the American pavilion at the Thirty-second Venice Biennial in 1964 showcases this modern style. The red and blue text on a white ground with repetition of “USA” displays patriotism and exhibits the modernist call for pure form without excessive ornamentation. Though successful with well-respected institutions, she gave up her design practice in the mid-1960s to pursue a passion for painting. In this brief decade, she had already left a mark on the graphic design world, particularly in her book jackets for the publishing house Meridian and others.

This object was donated by Tamar Cohen and Dave Slatoff and catalogued by Julia Pastor. It is credited Gift of Tamar Cohen and Dave Slatoff.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 27.8 × 43.2 cm (10 15/16 in. × 17 in.)

It is inscribed

Printed in black, upper left: XXXII International Biennial Exhibition of Art Venice 1964; lower right corner: XXXII Espozitione Biennale Internazionale d'Arte Veniezia 1964; vertically in "U" on left: United States of America; in "U" on right: Stati Uniti d'America

Cite this object as

Book Cover, United States of America, XXXII International Biennial Exposition of Art, Venice, Italy, 1964; Designed by Elaine Lustig Cohen (American, 1927 - 2016); USA; offset lithograph on paper; H x W: 27.8 × 43.2 cm (10 15/16 in. × 17 in.); Gift of Tamar Cohen and Dave Slatoff; 1993-31-62

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Book Cover, United States of America, XXXII International Biennial Exposition of Art, Venice, Italy, 1964 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=14 December 2017 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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