For Immediate Release Contact: Pamela Cooper
The Cooper Company
Tel: (212) 302-5559
Fax: (212) 302-1498
Mobile: (310) 365-1500


90-Year-Old Artist Sylvia Cooper
Finds Inspiration in First Solo Exhibit

Sylvia Cooper, Whose Impresario Husband Discovered Sinatra,
Sees A Culmination of Her Own Life's Work in Santa Monica Show


Los Angeles (May 24, 2005) — "Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you, if you're young at heart..." So crooned Frank Sinatra, who would have found modern inspiration in the life of 90-year-old Sylvia Cooper, a devoted wife, mother and community member who began painting at the age of 50 and four decades later will experience the first solo exhibition of her artwork. "Embracing 90 Years: The Artistry of Sylvia Cooper" celebrates the creativity and persistent spirit of this "emerging" artist at Bergamot Station's BGH Gallery in Santa Monica, from July 9 through August 7. A public reception will be held opening night from 6-9 p.m., on Sylvia's 90th birthday.

Displaying a few oil paintings, five silk screens and 25 sculptures, three of which are on loan from the Skirball Museum, the exhibition offers a slice of Sylvia's artistic mediums and subject matter, which ranges from abstracts to mother/daughter representations, animals to exquisite torsos. United through their grace, strength and vitality, her pieces have been purchased over the years by such corporate buyers as Arco and IBM and found their way into the collections of private buyers including Dr. Martin Cooper and Louis Adler. Sylvia Cooper's sculptures and serigraphs are also on permanent display at the Skirball Museum, UCLA and other institutions.

Sylvia, who takes a "better late than never" approach to this first-time solo exhibition, has long preferred to focus on the work rather than herself, whether that applied to her role as mother, community member or artist. Born on the lower east side of New York, the daughter of poor immigrant parents from Russia and Poland, she worked her first weekend job at age ten and graduated from high school before fifteen. Sylvia understood that higher education was a key to success, even for a woman in the 1930s, and worked her way through night school at Brooklyn College for seven years, studying liberal arts with an eye toward law school.

What she also had was an eye for art, even as a youngster. "Show me a piece and I always knew who the artist was," says Sylvia Cooper who, despite her passion, was always too busy in her early years to "art-iculate." She married Frank Cooper, an agent and producer who discovered Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore and others, raised three children and became actively involved in the Jewish community, first in New York then L.A. after relocating west in 1946. The first woman to serve as vice president of the Jewish Federation, Sylvia became a pillar of the community on par with any of her male counterparts.

At age 50, Sylvia decided one day to go to Barnsdall Park on Hollywood Boulevard to paint outdoor scenes. The experience re-ignited a long held passion. "Art had always been of great interest. Through high school and Brooklyn College I studied art history and then later at the Pratt Institute." Sylvia decided to dedicate one day each week to art. "I said to myself, 'only on Wednesdays' I would devote to trying to express myself artistically," explains Sylvia.

She modeled clay, ceramics and Toby Mugs, tackled oil paintings and water colors. This led her to discover an aptitude for serigraphs, or silk screens. A visit to a sculptor's studio subsequently gave Sylvia the realization that she could work with a hammer and chisel, carving a piece of stone into an object of art. "My Wednesdays were soon surrounded by Mondays and Thursdays. I couldn't wait to get to my studio under the eucalyptus trees. I had found my joy and the essence of my spirit," she says. Sylvia's dedication paid off with an extensive body of work that grew over the years, working nearly exclusively in one medium at a time. Most recently her medium has been alabaster and soapstone, resulting in close to 70 sculptures.

With her willingness to exhibit some of the artwork that has become a central focus of her life, Sylvia Cooper might just be humming another Sinatra tune these days, "The best is yet to come..."