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Long-Lost Illustrated Cookbook Is Featured at Fordham Gallery


Cipe Pineles was neither a chef nor a writer. But her cookbook has nonetheless commanded top billing at the Lincoln Center’s Ildiko Butler Gallery this fall.

Leave Me Alone With the Recipes: The Life, Art and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles, an exhibit featuring high quality digital prints of the famed designer and illustrator’s long-lost cookbook project, will be on display through Jan. 21, 2018.

In the 1940s, the Austrian-born graphic designer became the first female art director for Condé Nast and helped launch Seventeen Magazine, thus creating a new media category dedicated to young women. Andy Warhol once called her his favorite art director.

But unbeknownst to many, she was also privately painting vibrant gouache illustrations, in the pages of a sketchbook she kept at home, for her mother’s Eastern European Jewish recipes.

For reasons that are not clear it was never published, said the show’s curator Abby Goldstein. But writer Sarah Rich and illustrator Wendy MacNaughton found the sketchbook for sale through an antiquarian book seller. They teamed up with Maria Popova of the blog Brain Pickings and Debbie Millman of the podcast Design Matters to co-edit the book and get it published this month from Bloomsbury press.

The cover of the never published collection of recipes.

When Goldstein, an associate professor of visual arts and a professional acquaintance of Millman, got wind of the project, she jumped at the opportunity.

“I said ‘Anything with Cipe Pineles, I want to be involved in,’” she said.

“Even as late as the 70s, women just didn’t have roles that were top tier. It’s not like today, where you have a woman in charge of The New York Times’ art department.”

Pineles has a compelling personal story, having immigrated to the United States from Austria in 1921 when she was 13. As such, Leave Me Alone With the Recipes also features notable biographical moments—from her 1942 marriage to William Golden, a designer most famous for creating the CBS eye logo, to her branding and design work for Lincoln Center to her influential teaching positions at Parsons School of Design, The Cooper Union, and Harvard University.

Her hand-drawn illustrations have a playful, personal feel to them that make them “just sing,” said Goldstein.   

“They bring to mind home cooking and a real sense of nostalgia of family and history. The colors are just so inviting that they draw you in,” she said.

“Very few people will realize that it’s not computerized, but if you look closely at it, you can tell. There are typefaces that have been made based on this, but this type is just beautifully handwritten. The illustrations are all done from scratch, just like the cooking.”

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