Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Use
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
1.33 linear feet ((1 file box, 1 folio box) plus 3 photograph folders, 1 folio+ photograph folder, 1 folio photograph album, 2 folio+ photograph albums, 1 autochrome)
Series I, ARTWORK AND SCRAPBOOKS, 1902-1963 (#1.1-1.5, 2FB.1v), includes Lillian Cotton's early sketchbooks, a scrapbook, and a museum exhibition program. This series contains Cotton's early portrait sketches, as well as clippings regarding her early exhibitions in the United States and France, her marriage to Arthur Impey, and reviews of her work. This series is arranged roughly chronologically.
Series II, PHOTOGRAPHS, 1907-1970 (#PD.1f+v-PD.8), includes photographs, prints, postcards, and an autochrome. This series contains photographs of portraits done by Lillian Cotton, including subjects such as Virginia Berresford, Anne Moffett, Alfred Lunt, and Stephen James Joyce. Photographs in this series also document the familial and social life of Eleanor Cotton Burden, Lillian Cotton's sister, and include candid and professional family photographs, photographs of her travels in Europe, her family property, and photographs and cards from family and friends. This series is arranged by owner, and then chronologically.
Cotton further pursued her study of art in Paris, working under Andre Lhote, Lucien Simon, and Émile-René Ménard. In Paris, Cotton met and married Arthur Elia Impey, a British army officer (after her marriage, Cotton sometimes signed her work "LC Impey," though she is better known as an artist as Lillian Cotton). The couple spent the majority of their time in Paris, in particular Montparnasse, where Cotton had a studio, but often traveled to the United States to visit family and for Cotton to exhibit work.
Cotton was most famous for her portraits, especially those of high-society figures and well-known actors, writers, and artists of the day. Her subjects included Greta Garbo, Lauren Bacall, Veronica Lake, June Walker, Marcel Marceau, Norman Trevor, Stephen James Joyce, Mrs. Thomas Carnegie, Alfred Lunt, Wheeler Williams, Louis Bromfield, and Virginia Berresford. Cotton also painted and sketched portraits of family members, children, and unidentified subjects, and remarked that she preferred to work with women. Cotton was noted for her sound construction and simple and direct style of portraiture, that nevertheless conveyed feeling and a psychological presentation of her subjects. Though less frequently, Cotton also produced landscapes and still-life compositions.
Cotton exhibited work between 1918 and 1959 in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and in Paris, notably at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery, and the Salon d'Automne. She gained mention and won numerous awards for her work, including two from the National Association of Women Artists. She was a member of that organization, as well as a member of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, the New York Society of Women Artists, and the Pen and Brush Club, among others.
Lillian Cotton died in New York City in 1962.
- Series I. Artwork and Scrapbooks, 1902-1963 (#1.1-1.5, 2FB.1v)
- Series II. Photographs, 1907-1970 (#PD.1f+v-PD.8)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
These papers were given to the Schlesinger Library in February 1982 by Schuyler Chapin, the nephew of Lillian Cotton and Eleanor Cotton Burden.
Schuyler Chapin, Lillian Cotton's nephew, gave these papers to the Schlesinger Library in 1982 when he also donated the material of Cornelia Chapin, his paternal aunt. A preliminary inventory for the Cornelia Chapin Papers listed the Cotton material. When the Cornelia Chapin Papers (MC 783) were processed in 2014, Cotton family material was removed to form this collection.
By: Leah Edelman
- Art, American--20th century--Exhibitions
- France--Description and travel
- Greeting cards
- Martha's Vineyard (Mass.)--Social life and customs--20th century
- Oak Bluffs (Mass.)--Social life and customs--20th century
- Photograph albums
- Socialites--United States
- Voyages and travels
- Women artists--France
- Women artists--United States
- Women painters--United States
- Cotton, Lillian, 1892-1962. Papers of Lillian Cotton, 1902-1970: A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- EAD ID
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