Friday 01 Nov 2019

News from the Archives: A Treasure Lost and Found

A long-lost photograph album from the late 1930s that lay hidden behind some shelves in the Foundation’s Archives has recently come to light. Thrillingly, it contains a series of original sketches by one of our students at the time, Milein Cosman (born in 1921 in Germany), who was to become a celebrated portrait artist after she settled in the United Kingdom, following her Ecolint education. The great art historian Sir Ernst Gombrich wrote of her in 1996: “Posterity will be grateful to Milein Cosman above all for the sureness of her eye, with which she has succeeded in capturing the unique quality of so many of our distinguished contemporaries.” 

In an interesting turn of events, Milein Cosman would come to meet and sketch none other than the great Igor Stravinsky, whose great-great-grandchildren would also attend Ecolint, co-publishing and illustrating two books about the composer: Stravinsky at Rehearsal (1962) and Stravinsky Seen and Heard (1982), reissued as Stravinsky The Music Maker (2010). This provides yet more evidence that Ecolint transcends not only borders and languages, but also time itself, with generations of alumni overlapping providentially in their alma mater.

Milein Cosman (second from right) with fellow Ecolint students, circa 1938.

An additional detail of interest, from an Ecolint perspective, is that Cosman’s various improvised drawings of fellow students (see below) include one of Edward A. Tenenbaum (nicknamed “Charli” at the time). Tenenbaum (born 1921), as an economist working for the U.S. military government in Germany after World War II, masterminded that country’s successful currency reform by creating the Deutsche Mark (replacing the Reichsmark). As a U.S. First Lieutenant and intelligence officer, he was also the first non-captive Allied soldier to enter Buchenwald concentration camp, on 11 April 1945.

Alejandro Rodríguez-Giovo, Foundation Archivist

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