Now re-emerging as a cult figure, Marie Cosindas gained recognition during the 1960s. The artist proved to be instrumental in the recognition of color photography as an acceptable artistic medium in an era where color was relegated to commercial and amateur ventures. Both an historical exception and a product of her times, Cosindas’ warm, intimate portraits as well as her reminiscent arrangements separated her from the prevailing trends of Pop Art’s irony and Minimalism’ rigor that pervaded in the art world. The artist fills her tiny polaroid compositions with found or borrowed objects -- flowers, figurines, perfume bottles -- that came to define her signature style of excess delightfully bordering on kitsch.
Cosindas was born in Boston in 1925. She studied at the Modern School of Fashion Design and attended evening drawing and painting classes at the Boston Museum School. On a trip to Greece in 1959 Cosindas realized the photographs she was using as models for her paintings could stand on their own as finished products. Shortly after, Ansel Adams recommended her to the Polaroid Corporation, which sought to test a new instant-developing color film. Her photographs were a success, and by the end of the 1960s she had received a Guggenheim grant to continue her work in color, a Rockefeller grant, and honorary degrees form Philadelphia Moore College of Art and the Art Institute of Boston.
In 2013 Cosindas was the subject of a retrospective at the Amon Carter Museum, Forth Worth. In addition to her first two solo shows at MoMA and the MFA Boston in 1966, and her inclusion in John Szarkowski’s 1978 landmark exhibition Mirrors and Windows at MoMA, other major exhibitions of her work have been held at The Art Institute of Chicago; the International Center of Photography, New York; and the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco.
Her work is represented in prominent collections including George Eastman House, Rochester, NY; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; and The Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. Cosindas passed away in 2017.