Milein Cosman

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Milein Cosman
Born Milein Cosmann
Gotha, Germany
Nationality German
Education Slade School of Art
Known for Drawing, illustration

Milein Cosman (born 1921) is an artist who specializes in studies of musicians in action, such as Britten, Stravinsky, and Furtwaengler. She has lived most of her adult life in London.


Milein Cosman was born in Gotha, Germany, but spent a part of her childhood in Düsseldorf. Between 1937 and 1939 she went to school in Switzerland, at the École d'Humanité and the International School of Geneva. She came to England in 1939.

Once in the UK, she attended the Slade School of Art (located in Oxford during the war years), where she studied drawing under Randolph Schwabe and lithography under Harold Jones. In 1943 she attended evening classes at the Polytechnic at Oxford, where she was taught by Bernard Meninsky.

For two years from 1943, Milein Cosman worked on a milk float and taught French and Art at a convent school. In the evenings she gave lectures on Art for the Workers' Educational Association. In 1945, however, she moved to London where, while continuing to teach evening classes for the WEA, Red Cross and WMCA, she also worked for the American Broadcasting Station in Europe.

In 1946, she began to illustrate books, and to work as a freelance artist contributing drawings to magazines and newspapers. Her speciality was producing drawings of musicians and dancers, often sketching very rapidly during a rehearsal or performance. It was while on an assignment to draw the conductor and singers at a concert that she met the musician and writer Hans Keller, whom she subsequently married. The couple remained together until Keller's death in 1985; during this time she illustrated some of his work, and drew and painted many portraits of him.

Milein Cosman made a series of schools programmes on drawing for ITV in 1958.

In all, she has had nearly two dozen solo shows. Her work has been acquired by the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Ashmolean Museum, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Hunterian, the Stadtmuseum Düsseldorf and the Centre for Fine Arts (BoZar) of Brussels.

Books produced or illustrated by Milein Cosman[edit]

  • Hans Keller and Donald Mitchell (eds) (with drawings by Milein Cosman): Benjamin Britten: A Commentary on his Work from a Group of Specialists (London, Rockliff, 1952)
  • A Musical Sketchbook (Bruno Cassirer, Oxford, 1957)
  • Neville Cardus (with drawings by Milein Cosman): A Composer's Eleven (London, 1958; ISBN 0-8369-1554-2)
  • (with Hans Keller): Stravinsky at Rehearsal (1962; published in Germany as Stravinsky Dirigiert)
  • (with Hans Keller): 1975 (1984 minus 9) (London, 1977)
  • (with Hans Keller): Stravinsky Seen and Heard (Toccata Press, 1982; ISBN 0-907689-02-7). Reissued as Stravinsky The Music Maker (ed. M. Anderson, Toccata Press, 2010)
  • (With Hans Keller): The Jerusalem Diary - Music, Society and Politics, 1977 and 1979 (ed. C. Wintle & F. Williams, Plumbago Books, 2001, ISBN 0-9540123-0-5)

Solo shows and exhibitions[edit]

1949: Berkeley Gardens, London

1957: Matthiessen Gallery, London

1970: Theatre des Champs-Élysées (Festival International de Danse, British Council), Paris

1988: Stadtmuseum, Düsseldorf

1996: Belgrave Gallery, London

2014: Kunstforum, Gotha

External links[edit]