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Northwestern University Library

Guide to the George M. Cohen (1919-1999) Papers 1948/1999

Overview of the Collection

Cohen, George M., 1919-1999

Title:

George M. Cohen (1919-1999) Papers

Dates:

1948-1999

Size:

7.00

Repository:

Northwestern University Archives

Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/archives
Email: archives@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3354

Abstract:

George M. Cohen, an oil painter, mixed media artist and art professor, was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 4, 1919. He studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Drake University and the University of Chicago. Cohen joined the faculty of Northwestern University in 1948, becoming a full professor in 1963. Cohen's papers fill two boxes and span the period 1951-1999. The papers fall into six categories: biographical materials, exhibit announcements and catalogs, correspondence, research files, education files, and papers.

Biographical Information

George M. Cohen, an oil painter, mixed media artist and art professor, was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 4, 1919. He studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Drake University and the University of Chicago. Cohen joined the faculty of Northwestern University in 1948, becoming a full professor in 1963.

At the Art Institute of Chicago Cohen was awarded the Isaacs Scholarship in 1938-39 and the Coolbaugh Scholarship in 1939-1940. He also served as the President of the Art Students League in 1940. His academic career was interrupted between 1941 and 1946 while he served in the U.S. Army with the 63rd Reconnaissance Troop in the European Theatre of Operations. After completing his B.F.A. at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1946, Cohen briefly attended Drake University, where he studied Liberal Arts. At the University of Chicago, he completed residence work toward an M.A. and a Ph.D. in the History of Art from 1946-48.

In 1948 Cohen joined the Northwestern University faculty as an instructor of art. He was promoted to assistant professor of art in 1952 and to associate professor in 1958. He became a full professor in 1963, a position he held until his retirement in 1984, when he became professor emeritus. As guest professor or guest artist, Cohen also taught at the Contemporary Art Workshop in Chicago in 1951, the Institute of Related Art in Wilmette in 1951, the Evanston Art Center from 1951-52, the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology from 1956-57, and the Minneapolis Museum of Art, 1963.

At Northwestern University, Cohen was a President's Fellow and Distinguished Faculty Lecturer. His numerous awards included the Copley Award, the National Foundation of the Arts Award, a Ford Arts Council Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the State of Illinois 150th Anniversary Award.

Cohen worked in oils and mixed media. A Northwestern University “Faculty Profile” describes Cohen as “a surrealist” who “combines the metaphysical with the sensuous to express new realities of space, time, and the human figure.” Cohen was a founding member of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. In the mid-fifties, he was also a part of a “new Chicago School” which included artists Leon Golub, June Leaf and Cosmo Campoli. They organized annual “Momentum Exhibitions” that caught the notice of New York critics. (See clippings from Art News, October, 1955; Arts, January, 1955.)

Cohen wrote many articles and reviews for various publications. He had many one-person shows and participated in numerous invitational exhibitions. His work can be found in permanent collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Carnegie Mellon Museum in Pittsburgh, the Minneapolis Museum of American Arts and the Hirschhorn Collection in Washington, D.C. Cohen was married to the painter Constance Teander Cohen, who died in 1995. They often showed their work together in exhibits. He had a son, Paul Cohen and two daughters, Frances Tietov and Susan Evans. Cohen died on April 18, 1999.

Access Terms

This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Personal Name

Cohen, George M., 1919-1999

Topical Term

Art teachers--Illinois--Evanston--Biography

Art--Study and teaching--United States

Artists as teachers--Illinois--Evanston

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

The George M. Cohen Papers were donated to the University Archives by Frances Tietov on February 23, 2000, as Accession No. 00-57. Material from the University Archives' Biographical Files was incorporated into this series.

Processing Information

Kerry Quealy, March 2000

Separated Materials

Two photographs of Cohen were removed and added to the University Archives' Photographic Files. An inch of duplicate materials was discarded.

Conditions Governing Access

Recommendation letters in Box 5, Folder 2 are restricted and cannot be viewed without the permission of the University Archivist.

Related Materials

For more correspondence between Cohen and his circle of faculty friends, see the Walter B. Scott Papers (Series 20/29) and the Harrison Hayford Papers (Series 11/3/11/34).

Scope and Contents

George M. Cohen, an oil painter, mixed media artist and art professor, was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 4, 1919. He studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Drake University and the University of Chicago. Cohen joined the faculty of Northwestern University in 1948, becoming a full professor in 1963.

At the Art Institute of Chicago Cohen was awarded the Isaacs Scholarship in 1938-39 and the Coolbaugh Scholarship in 1939-1940. He also served as the President of the Art Students League in 1940. His academic career was interrupted between 1941 and 1946 while he served in the U.S. Army with the 63rd Reconnaissance Troop in the European Theatre of Operations. After completing his B.F.A. at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1946, Cohen briefly attended Drake University, where he studied Liberal Arts. At the University of Chicago, he completed residence work toward an M.A. and a Ph.D. in the History of Art from 1946-48.

In 1948 Cohen joined the Northwestern University faculty as an instructor of art. He was promoted to assistant professor of art in 1952 and to associate professor in 1958. He became a full professor in 1963, a position he held until his retirement in 1984, when he became professor emeritus. As guest professor or guest artist, Cohen also taught at the Contemporary Art Workshop in Chicago in 1951, the Institute of Related Art in Wilmette in 1951, the Evanston Art Center from 1951-52, the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology from 1956-57, and the Minneapolis Museum of Art, 1963.

At Northwestern University, Cohen was a President’s Fellow and Distinguished Faculty Lecturer. His numerous awards included the Copley Award, the National Foundation of the Arts Award, a Ford Arts Council Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the State of Illinois 150th Anniversary Award.

Cohen worked in oils and mixed media. A Northwestern University “Faculty Profile” describes Cohen as “a surrealist” who “combines the metaphysical with the sensuous to express new realities of space, time, and the human figure.” Cohen was a founding member of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. In the mid-fifties, he was also a part of a “new Chicago School” which included artists Leon Golub, June Leaf and Cosmo Campoli. They organized annual “Momentum Exhibitions” that caught the notice of New York critics. (See clippings from Art News, October, 1955; Arts, January, 1955.)

Cohen wrote many articles and reviews for various publications. He had many one-person shows and participated in numerous invitational exhibitions. His work can be found in permanent collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Carnegie Mellon Museum in Pittsburgh, the Minneapolis Museum of American Arts and the Hirschhorn Collection in Washington, D.C.

Cohen was married to the painter Constance Teander Cohen, who died in 1995. They often showed their work together in exhibits. He had a son, Paul Cohen and two daughters, Frances Tietov and Susan Evans. Cohen died on April 18, 1999.

Addition, Boxes 3-7

This addition to the George M. Cohen Papers spans the years 1948 to 1999 and is organized into the following categories: biographical materials, exhibit announcements and catalogs, correspondence, education files, papers, and material relating specifically to Cohen’s wife, the artist Constance Cohen. Correspondence makes up the bulk of the addition.

The biographical materials are arranged chronologically, and include curricula vitae, clippings, grants and awards. The clippings relate to both Cohen’s academic life at Northwestern University, and to his professional life as a painter. The exhibit announcements and catalogs span the years 1948 to 1999 and document Cohen’s professional career.

The correspondence files date from the early 1940s through the late 1990s. General correspondence is arranged chronologically by decade. Subject correspondence is organized alphabetically, with the contents of each folder arranged chronologically. The many greeting cards that the Cohens received are foldered separately from other correspondence, and are arranged alphabetically by the name of the sender. Subject folders include professional and personal correspondence, including numerous letters of recommendation. Of particular interest are letters and cards Cohen sent to Jack and Irene Oppenheim while in Rome during the first half of the 1960s.

Note: For more correspondence between Cohen and his circle of faculty friends, see the Walter B. Scott Papers (Series 20/29) and the Harrison Hayford Papers (Series 11/3/11/34).

Education files fill three folders and include undated class notes from Cohen’s school days, as well as teaching notes.

Papers and Writings include Cohen’s dissertation on eighteen century French drawing for the University of Chicago, lectures, and personal writing, much of it undated.

Constance Cohen’s papers include biographical materials, clippings, exhibit announcements and catalogs, and correspondence, including a number of letters written to the Oppenheims.

INVENTORY

Biographical Materials

Box 1

Folder 1

Personal Data

1958-1968

Box 1

Folder 2

Clippings

1955-1964

Box 1

Folder 3

Clippings

1965-1994

Box 1

Folder 4

Northwestern News Releases

1953-1974

Box 1

Folder 5

Other New Releases

1963-1968

Box 1

Folder 6

Obituaries

1999

Exhibit Announcements and Catalogs

Box 1

Folder 7

Appearance Announcements

1951-1968

Box 1

Folder 8

Exhibit Announcements

1955-1962

Box 1

Folder 9

Exhibit Announcements

1963-1967

Box 1

Folder 10

Exhibit Announcements

1968-1991

Box 1

Folder 11

Exhibit Announcements

n.d.

Box 1

Folder 12

Exhibit Catalogs

1960-1969

Box 1

Folder 13

The New Vein: The Human Figure Catalogs

1963-1968

Correspondence

Box 1

Folder 14

General Correspondence

1957-1970

Box 1

Folder 15

Northwestern Correspondence

1974-1978

Research Files

Box 2

Folder 1

Notes

n.d.

Box 2

Folder 2

Notes

n.d.

Box 2

Folder 3

Notes

n.d.

Box 2

Folder 4

Notes

n.d.

Box 2

Folder 5

Notes-“Illusion and Matter”

n.d.

Education Files

Box 2

Folder 6

Three Notebooks

n.d.

Papers

Box 2

Folder 7

“George Cohen: An American Artist” by Ruth Gustafson

n.d.

Box 2

Folder 8

Published/Unpublished Papers

1956, n.d.

Addition

Materials relating to Richard Ellmann and Walter Scott were transferred to the Richard Ellmann Papers (Series 11/3/11/26) and the Walter B. Scott Papers (Series 20/29). Photographs were separated and transferred to the Archives’ General Photographic collection and five inches of duplicate and extraneous papers were discarded.

Processor

Chinedu Iloabachie, summer 2001. Revised Fall 2003 by Dan Schwerin.

Conditions governing access

Recommendation letters in Box 5, Folder 2 are restricted and cannot be viewed without the permission of the University Archivist.

Scope and Contents

This addition to the George M. Cohen Papers spans the years 1948 to 1999 and is organized into the following categories: biographical materials, exhibit announcements and catalogs, correspondence, education files, papers, and material relating specifically to Cohen’s wife, the artist Constance Cohen. Correspondence makes up the bulk of the addition. The biographical materials are arranged chronologically, and include curricula vitae, clippings, grants and awards. The clippings relate to both Cohen’s academic life at Northwestern University, and to his professional life as a painter. The exhibit announcements and catalogs span the years 1948 to 1999 and document Cohen’s professional career. The correspondence files date from the early 1940s through the late 1990s. General correspondence is arranged chronologically by decade. Subject correspondence is organized alphabetically, with the contents of each folder arranged chronologically. The many greeting cards that the Cohens received are foldered separately from other correspondence, and are arranged alphabetically by the name of the sender. Subject folders include professional and personal correspondence, including numerous letters of recommendation. Of particular interest are letters and cards Cohen sent to Jack and Irene Oppenheim while in Rome during the first half of the 1960s. Note: For more correspondence between Cohen and his circle of faculty friends, see the Walter B. Scott Papers (Series 20/29) and the Harrison Hayford Papers (Series 11/3/11/34). Education files fill three folders and include undated class notes from Cohen’s school days, as well as teaching notes. Papers and Writings include Cohen’s dissertation on eighteen century French drawing for the University of Chicago, lectures, and personal writing, much of it undated. Constance Cohen’s papers include biographical materials, clippings, exhibit announcements and catalogs, and correspondence, including a number of letters written to the Oppenheims.

Biographical Materials

Box 3

Folder 1

Personal Data

1965-1987

Box 3

Folder 2

Awards and Grants

1952-1976

Box 3

Folder 3

Clippings

1951-1994

Box 3

Folder 4

Northwestern Library News Letter

1960-1965

Exhibit Announcements and Catalogs

Box 3

Folder 5

Appearance Announcements and Invitations

1948-1992

Box 3

Folder 6

Exhibit Announcements (George Cohen)

1958-1998

Box 3

Folder 7

Exhibit Catalogs (George Cohen)

1950-1985

Box 3

Folder 8

Address Books

n.d.

Correspondence

Box 4

Folder 1

General Correspondence

1940s

Box 4

Folder 2

General Correspondence

1950s

Box 4

Folder 3

General Correspondence

1960s

Box 4

Folder 4

General Correspondence

1970s

Box 4

Folder 5

General Correspondence

1980s

Box 4

Folder 6

General Correspondence

1990s

Box 4

Folder 7

General Correspondence

n.d.

Subject Correspondence

Box 4

Folder 8

Alan Gallery

1957-1959

Box 4

Folder 9

Backstrom, Lars

1962-1963

Box 4

Folder 10

Boothby, William and Ruth

1982-1994

Box 4

Folder 11

Guggenheim Fellowship Correspondence

1973-1974

Box 4

Folder 12

Michael Findlay Gallery

1974-1976

Box 4

Folder 13

Museum of Modern Art

1956-1962

Box 4

Folder 14

Northwestern University

1949-1984

Box 4

Folder 15

Oppenheim, Jack and Irene, from Rome

1961-1964

Box 5

Folder 1

Professional Correspondence

1956-1990

Box 5

Folder 2

Recommendations

1962-1992

Conditions governing access

This folder cannot be viewed without the permission of the University Archivist.

Box 5

Folder 3

Richard Feigen Gallery

1959-1974

Box 5

Folder 4

Seaberg, Ronnog and Steve

1964-1998

Box 5

Folder 5

Walter Scott

1962-1975

Box 5

Folder 6

Zabriskie Gallery

1957

Greeting Cards

Box 5

Folder 7

Cards A-F

1959-1999

Box 5

Folder 8

Cards G-R

1950-1999

Box 6

Folder 1

Cards S-W

1954-1998

Education Files

Box 6

Folder 2

Class notes

n.d.

Box 6

Folder 3

Lecture Notes: B 70

1972-1981

Box 6

Folder 4

Lecture Notes: B2, C2, C5

n.d

Papers and Writings

Box 6

Folder 5

Dissertation

1946-1948

Box 6

Folder 6

Lectures

n.d.

Box 6

Folder 7

Personal writing

n.d

Constance Cohen

Box 7

Folder 1

Biographical Materials

n.d

Box 7

Folder 2

Clippings

1957-1999

Box 7

Folder 3

Correspondence, personal (Oppenheims)

1965-1966

Box 7

Folder 4

Correspondence, professional

1960-1995

Box 7

Folder 5

Exhibit Announcements (Constance Cohen)

1956-1995

Box 7

Folder 6

Exhibit Catalogs (Constance Cohen)

1963-1995