Painter and printmaker Emilie ‘Milein’ Cosman was born in Gotha, Germany, on 31 March 1921, but spent a part of her childhood in Düsseldorf and attended boarding school in Switzerland until her departure for England in 1939. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art (amalgamated with the Ruskin School of Art and located in Oxford during the war years), taking drawing lessons under Randolph Schwabe and lithography under Harold Jones and working as a fire-watcher in Oxford. In 1943 she attended evening classes at the Oxford Polytechnic, where she was taught by Bernard Meninsky. Two years later, she moved to Hampstead, where she remained for the rest of her life, and where her émigré circle included Fred Uhlman, John Heartfield, Jacob Bornfriend, Marie-Louise von Motesiczky and the cartoonist, Victor ‘Vicky’ Weisz.

Cosman worked as a freelancer, specializing in contributing drawings to magazines and newspapers, including volumes of Our Time, in which she illustrated an article by Jankel Sountag on ‘The Yiddish Theatre: Seventy Years Development’ (1946). In the same year she contributed drawings derived from Robert Atkins’ production of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice: J. Sherman as ‘Old Gobbo’ and M. Tzelnicker as ‘Shylock’ to Ben Uri Gallery's exhibiton on Subjects of Jewish Interest. However, she specialised in drawings of composers, musicians, actors, writers and dancers, and was married to the musicologist Hans Keller. She had numerous solo shows including 'Lifelong Impressions: Paintings, Prints and Drawings by Milein Cosman' at the Austrian Cultural Institute in March 2008. Milein Cosman died in London, England on 21 November 2017 and is represented in UK public collections including the Ben Uri Collection, the British Museum and National Portrait Gallery, London.