Kathleen Cooke

American (born Ireland), 1908–1978

Born in Belfast and raised in Canada, Kathleen Cooke moved to New York City as a young woman. She took classes with Sam Adler at New York University and Theodoros Stamos at the Art Students League. Cooke began to exhibit her delicate drawings in New York in 1969. Her sensitive depictions of animals attracted attention of critics and dealers, and she had her first solo show in 1970. She received a Mark Rothko Foundation Award in 1971. Cooke’s earliest exhibitions were at venues frequented by the Vogels—Graham Gallery and Betty Parsons Gallery—and Richard Tuttle was an early admirer of her work. In the seventies, she exhibited internationally in Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland, France, and Denmark, as well as showing regularly in New York.

Cooke produced drawings and small sculptures of vulnerable subjects: animals in zoos, nudes, and derelicts. Richard Tuttle described her process: “She goes to zoos and removes bars from some favorite animals, recording their movements with lines which will eventually suggest form to her…Apparently, she completely identifies with her caged animals."

Heather Campbell Coyle, Delaware Art Museum, January 2010
All works by Kathleen Cooke
Cats and Turtles

Cooke, Kathleen. “Kathleen Cooke.” The Arts in Ireland 2 (June 1975), 43-45.

Kathleen Cooke Papers, 1964-1978. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Tuttle, Richard. Foreword, in Kathleen Cooke (exhibition announcement). New York: Betty Parsons Gallery, 1972, pages not numbered.