Born in West Newton, Pennsylvania in 1908, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University in 1926 and a fellowship to study abroad. From 1930 to 1931 she studied in Europe, where she met her future husband, Philip C. Elliott, in Paris. In 1941 the couple moved from Pittsburgh to Buffalo, and Cuthbert became a painting instructor at the Albright Art School, the University of Buffalo, and later at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Cuthbert studied with artists working in a range of styles, including Charles Hawthorne, Colin Gill, George Luks, and Alexander Kostellow. Her work initially was stylistically aligned with the Ash Can School; however, she is best known for her interpretation of a style referred to as Magic Realism.
The Frank K. M. Rehn Gallery represented Cuthbert in its New York Gallery, along with Charles E. Burchfield, Edward Hopper, and Reginald Marsh. Her work received widespread attention during the 1940s and 1950s in solo and group exhibitions, and in national publications, such as Fortune Magazine and ARTnews. In 1954 she was honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Institute of Arts and Letters.
Cuthbert was a member of the New York Society of Women Artists, as well as The Patteran Society, a group of artists who left the Buffalo Society of Artists to pursue what they believed to be a more challenging approach to art. An important retrospective of her work was presented at the Nina Freudenheim Gallery in Buffalo in 1990.
In 1995 the Arts Council in Buffalo and Erie County and the Greater Buffalo Partnership honored Cuthbert with an Individual Professional Artists Award. Over the last several years, Cuthbert has donated many artworks and archival materials relating to herself and her husband to the Burchfield-Penney Art Center. She died in Buffalo in 2001.
About the Burchfield-Penney Art Center
The Burchfield-Penney Art Center is a museum dedicated to the art and vision of Charles E. Burchfield and distinguished artists of Buffalo Niagara and Western New York State. Through its affiliation with Buffalo State College, the museum encourages learning and celebrates our richly creative and diverse community. For more information, call (716) 878-6011 or visit www.burchfield-penney.org.
The Burchfield-Penney Art Center is accredited by the American Association of Museums and is supported in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts. Additional operating support is provided by the Elizabeth Elser Doolittle Trust, the James Carey Evans Endowment, the Mary A. H. Rumsey Foundation and charitable contributions by museum members and visitors.