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Live: The Art of the Silhouette Artist & Curator on the Scene at NHM

New Haven, Conn. (October 20, 2023) –See the incredible art of silhouetting live at New Haven Museum (NHM) as we celebrate the exhibition, “Profiles: Ruth McIntosh Cogswell and Dorothy Cogswell,” on Sunday, November 5, 2023, 1- 3 p.m. Silhouette artist Elizabeth O’Brien will create free, handcrafted silhouettes for a lucky few on a first-come, first-served basis. Co-Curator Mary Christ will also be onsite to answer questions about the exhibition. The museum will be open 1- 4 p.m. for this Free First Sunday event.

During the event, silhouette artist Elizabeth O’Brien will demonstrate her craft in person. O’Brien has created silhouettes for almost 40 years with scissors and paper, using both the cut-and-paste method and the hollow-cut, and pen and ink. It’s a passion that grew as she was inspired by old silhouettes and illustrations, and as she evolved as an artist.

Mary Christ, who co-curated the “Profiles” exhibition, will be on-site to answer questions on the exhibit and the artists. Christ notes that the collection speaks to the interplay of working artists and art education, to the role of women in the New Haven arts community, and to the story of a mother and daughter whose lives and careers were based in the arts.

“Profiles” highlights two remarkable women at the heart of New Haven’s art scene a century ago. Ruth McIntosh Cogswell (1885-1944) grew up in the Elm City and attended the Yale School of Fine Arts in 1905-06. She was an art educator and artist renowned for her intricate silhouette work. Her daughter, Dorothy Cogswell (1909-2008), was the first woman to earn an MFA from the Yale School of Fine Arts and later served as chair of the Department of Art at Mount Holyoke College. The exhibition’s photographs, watercolors, pencil drawings and silhouettes give a glimpse of the New Haven arts scene in the early 20th century and allows present-day audiences to consider the role women played in establishing the local arts community that exists today. The exhibition will remain on view through December 30, 2023.


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