Alone with Pineles in the Ildiko Butler Gallery


The exhibit will be available until January. (Aseah Khan/THE OBSERVER)


The design world’s hidden gem, artist Cipe Pineles, is featured at the Ildiko Butler Gallery, located in the main entrance of Fordham at Lincoln Center (FLC), this month. Coordinated by Abby Goldstein, associate professor in graphic design at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC), and curated by illustrator Wendy MacNaughton and editor Sarah Rich, the exhibit highlights the sketches of Cipe Pineles, maverick of the arts world.

In 1923, Cipe Pineles emigrated from Austria to New York City at 15 years old. She

became one of the most prominent artistic directors for magazines like “Seventeen, Glamour, Charm and Stretch.”

“Pineles embraced the art world with an understanding that images are not just headshots, but a whole composition,” Goldstein explained.

And though the many magazine covers designed by Pineles can be found on the right side of the gallery, your eye is drawn to the center of the gallery where 12 of Pineles’ drawings hang. In 1945, Pineles lettered and illustrated all of her mother’s recipes in a sketchbook. Unknown to the world, the sketchbook disappeared and was almost lost for good.

In February 2017, MacNaughton and Rich discovered Pineles’ unpublished manuscript at an antique book fair.

“We were both struck by how beautiful the art was, and also how contemporary it felt despite being about 70 years old,” Rich said.

The duo then created the revitalized book “Leave Me Alone with the Recipes: The Art, Life, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles.” Goldstein thought that displaying some of the art from the book would not only serve to beautify the gallery, but to inform the world of Cipe Pineles.

Some of the sketches featured from the book include recipes for borscht, a beet soup originating in Eastern Europe, lamb stew and goulash. All of the simple and colorful sketches shed light on Pineles’ Austrian roots through her mother’s recipes.

When asked her favorite sketch, Goldstein named six different recipes and said, “It’s almost impossible with such a variety. I guess it depends on the day, and what I’m in the mood for!”

In the center of the gallery, there is a table that holds some of Pineles’ original work and materials. This includes pencils, original Seventeen magazines, and the real frying pan featured in many of the recipes. Even in these seemingly ordinary objects, you can still get a great sense of Pineles’ knowledge of design. On the left of the gallery, there are portraits of Cipe Pineles as a little girl, a young woman and an older woman. The portrait of Pineles as an older woman was Sarah Rich’s favorite: “It’s so regal and wistful and powerful all at once.”

Pineles’ powerful position as artistic director on a number of prominent magazines was unheard of for a woman in her time. Her artistic eye was revolutionary, and her work was considered a precursor for modern magazine design.

“She was a really committed, meticulous designer and someone who clearly delighted in the artistic and intellectual challenges of being a designer. She really had a major hand in steering publication design towards where it is today,” Rich said.

The Ildiko Butler Gallery features the work of Cipe Pineles at such a pinnacle point in our nation’s history. Pineles represents anyone with a dream, more specifically an immigrant with a dream. She recreated herself at fifteen with her immigration, and made a new life for herself as an American.

“She is a perfect example of DACA,” said Goldstein.

We live in a time and a place in which we discourage women like Cipe Pineles. Who are we to take away the opportunities of immigrants? What if the immigrants being discouraged today could have been the next greatest mind of design tomorrow?

Goldstein said, “How dare us to say immigrants aren’t welcome here.”

There is great importance in acknowledging any art, but specifically Cipe Pineles in the Ildiko Butler Gallery. Take the time to learn and love her sketches, her words and her story.


Cipe Pineles’ work will be on display at the Ildiko Butler Gallery until Jan. 21, and “Leave Me Alone with the Recipes” is available for purchase in stores and online at