Lucille Corcos was celebrated as one of the foremost “modern primitivist” painters in America, creating scenes where the outside walls of buildings fell away to reveal the lives of those within. Corcos was the daughter of Rabbi Joseph Corcos of Congregation Shearith Israel, the Spanish-Portuguese synagogue in New York, and she regularly illustrated certificates for life-cycle events in her father’s congregation. She trained at the Art Students League and tried to break into publishing by illustrating children’s books, but heard repeatedly that her work was too sophisticated for the market. Finally, Corcos took her work to Vanity Fair, where she earned her first cover commission. She rapidly made a name for herself and began illustrating books for adults and children with lush colors and playfully warped perspective. Her works included illustrated versions of Nikolai Gogol and the Brothers Grimm, as well as The Illustrated Treasury of Gilbert and Sullivan in 1940. Corcos exhibited widely, regularly showing her work in the Whitney Biennial and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. She also created a mural which remains on display at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Lucille Corcos." (Viewed on April 24, 2017) <https://jwa.org/people/corcos-lucille>.