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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Virginia Cuthbert was born in 1908 in West Newton, Pennsylvania. She was a magic realist or surrealist artist painting moody pictures of people in architectural settings. There are also American Scene or Regionalist aspects to her work in the 1930s. Among many covers painted for Fortune Magazine, the June, 1951 issue depicts a powerful image, both realistic and symbolic, of an aluminum production plant with a foreground filled with red pipes converging to a black building sending smoke to a darkly expressive sky. In January, 1956 her cover painting of the White House was sent to President Dwight D. Eisenhower for his Gettysburg farm.
Cuthbert received her B.F.A. degree in 1930 from Syracuse University. Aided by an August Hazard fellowship for European study, Cuthbert worked with Colin Gill in London, attending Chelsea Polytechnical Institute there, and had her work critiqued by Augustus John, the famous British portrait painter. Cuthbert also studied in Paris at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere, and in Florence, Italy with Felice Carena.
Before leaving for Europe, Cuthbert had studied during the summer of 1930 at the Provincetown Art Colony in Massachusetts with Charles Hawthorne. Upon her return to America, she continued her studies in New York City with former Ash Can School painter George Luks in 1932; pursuing graduate level studies in Pittsburgh at the University of Pittsburgh in art history in 1933-1934; and at the Carnegie Institute of Technology with Alexander Kostellow in painting in1934-1935.
She and her husband, Philip C. Elliott, were professors for many years in the art department at the University of Buffalo, from the early 1950s until they retired in 1969. She established the Philip C. and Virginia Cuthbert Elliott Painting Scholarship at the University. Interestingly, she had met her husband-to-be the second day she was in Paris. They would marry in 1935.
In 1954, Cuthbert was awarded a grant from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. She was also a newspaper art critic in 1954-1955 for the Buffalo Courier-Express, and in 1955-1956 for the Buffalo Evening News. Her work is in the collections of the Albright Knox Gallery, University of Buffalo and State University of New York, all in Buffalo, New York.
From 1933 to 1992, Cuthbert exhibited her work in sixty-five group shows. Her one-person exhibitions include: Syracuse University, 1930; Carnegie Institute Museum of Art, 1938; Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts and Butler Art Institute, Youngstown, Ohio, 1939; Contemporary Arts, New York City, 1945, 1949 and 1953; American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York City, 1954; Frank Rehn Gallery, New York City, 1958 and 1966; and a retrospective exhibition at the Nina Freudenheim Gallery in Buffalo, New York in 1990. She would also exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.
Virginia Cuthbert died in Kenmore, a suburb of Buffalo, New York in 2001. She was 92 years old.
Jules and Nancy Heller, North American Women Artists of the 20th Century
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