Edward Cucuel
American, 1879-1951

Edward Cucuel was born as the son of a newspaper publisher in San Francisco. Already at the age of 14 he attended the local academy of arts. Still a teenager he was employed as an illustrator by the newspaper 'The Examiner'. When the 17-year-old Cucuel was sent to Paris, he entered the Académie Julian and the Académie Colarossi where he studied with Constant, J. P. Laurens, and Boujuereau. Then he went to Jean Léon Gérôme at the Académie des Beaux Arts. He was a member of the National Society des Beaux Arts, in Paris. In 1896 Cucuel returned to the USA and settled in New York. After half a year, when he worked again as a newspaper illustrator, Cucuel went back to Paris to devote himself to art. He spent two years there, and then traveled through France and Italy to study the old masters. In Germany, he went to Berlin, where he mainly worked as an illustrator.

In 1907 Cucuel moved to Munich, the city that should become his home for a long time. There, he joined the artists' group 'Scholle', which was dominated by the outstanding artistic figure Leo Putz. The group took care of him in artistic matters. Furthermore Cucuel took part in the exhibitions of the Secession in Munich. In 1912 the artist successfully exhibited some of his works in Paris. He became a member of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1913 and later of the Salon d’Automne in Paris and the Isaria and Aussteller-Verbund Munchner Kunstler, Der Ring, in Munich. His work was exhibited at the P.P. Expo in San Francisco in 1915. In 1914 his address is recorded as 5, Rue Bellart, Paris when he exhibited ‘The Friends’ at the Pennsylvania Academy. Six years later it was care of The American Express Company, when he showed ‘The Bather, Girl in Yellow, and Autumn Sun.’ His last address recorded in the reference books was Westerham in Kent (1940).

His work is represented in many important collections, including the Detroit Institute, the Musée National des Arts et Décoration (Louvres) and the Birkenhead Museum Liverpool. A number of books have been written about his work, including The Art of Edward Cucuel by Baron von Ostini (with 100 colour plates), Colour Plates of E Cucuel published by E W Savory (Bristol, England).

His early work particularly shows the influence of Expressionism while his later work became softer and generally more commercial. His paintings resemble the French impressionists as to color and motives. His favorite motives are portraits of women and nudes in bright interiors, Plein-air-representations with social scenes and charming Bavarian landscapes. From 1914 to 1918 Cucuel lived in Holzhausen at the Ammersee and later put up studios in Munich and Starnberg. Since 1928 he spent his summers there and regularly lived in New York during the winter until 1934. Because of the beginning of Word War II Cucuel finally left Germany in 1939. He settled in the Californian town Pasadena, where he led a secluded life until his death in 1954.