Published July 1, 1951
Clifford Coffin photographed an unusual beauty for the July 1951 Glamour. A model wears blue-green eye shadow and matching mascara. Her reversible silk shantung scarf is the same shade of blue-green, which highlights her face.
(American, 1913-1972) Clifford Coffin moved to New York City for a job as a financial analyst for Texaco, but he always wanted to be an artist. Luck was on his side, and upon meeting famed Condé Nast Editorial Director Alexander Liberman, Coffin's photographic career began. World War II had taken many photographers to the action overseas and most magazines were desperate for talent. Vogue was no exception, and Liberman immediately set about training Coffin and putting him to work. Coffin was flamboyant and outspoken on the job but his work was undeniably admired by his contemporaries-including his many rivals. He had a turbulent personality but a dedication to the craft and detail of high fashion. His imagery lent a particular cool elegance to the pages of Vogue and Glamour. Coffin enjoyed working in color, but limited his palette to neutral-toned images with slices of color for a startling effect. Some of his well-known work includes his portrait of the designer Christian Dior on the eve of his first collection and the artist Henri Matisse working on collages in bed. The National Portrait Gallery of London mounted a major exhibition of his work in 1997 entitled "The Varnished Truth: Photographs from Vogue 1945-1955".