Recipes From A Legendary Designer

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Cipe Pineles (1910–1995) was art director of Glamour, Overseas Woman, Seventeen and Charm. The Viennese-born Pineles had as much, if not more, influence on editorial design and illustration in America as any man or woman in publishing. In 1948, Pineles became the first female member of the New York Art Directors Club (founded in 1921) and was eventually the first woman inducted into the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame. The fact that she broke this gender barrier was indeed the reason for receiving a two-column obituary (with a photograph) in the New York Times, an honor typically reserved for individuals who have made lasting lifetime achievements.


Although Pineles would have vehemently denied that this was an accomplishment on which to hang a legacy, it certainly was significant at a time when men—young and old—jealously guarded the gates to the exclusive sanctum. Pineles was proposed for membership in the late 1930s but was repeatedly turned down until, the story goes, her first husband, William Golden (she was also married to Will Burtin) refused to join, saying that he wanted no part of a men’s club. Pineles was admitted the next day.

In addition to her roles as art director and design educator at Parsons School of Design, she was an illustrator in her own right. She had a painterly folk quality that was often focused on the subject of food. A bit over a year ago, Sarah Rich and Wendy MacNaughton discovered a painted manuscript at an antiquarian book fair that stood out like a diamond in the rough—it displayed a vibrant painting of hot pink beets and a hand-lettered recipe for borscht written in script so full of life, it was hard to believe it was more than 65 years old.

Cipe Pineles
Cipe Pineles

It was the work of Cipe (pronounced “C. P.”) Pineles. Completed in 1945, she called it Leave Me Alone with the Recipes, inspired by childhood memories of tastes and smells from her native Europe.

Rich and MacNaughton invited Maria Popova of Brain Pickings and Debbie Millman of Design Matters, along with contributors Mimi Sheraton, Paula Scher, Maira Kalman and me to work on a book that presents Pineles’ life and work. With Pineles’ illustrated cookbook and a section of updated recipes as its centerpiece, this unique volume publishes today.

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