Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ever Heard of Coles Phillips?

I would imagine that most of you haven't heard of Coles Phillips, but my post on Monday which listed my top ten favorite portraits got me in an artistic mood and I thought it wouldn't hurt to continue the theme...only make sure it had something to do with books this time!

Coles Phillips-- who was really Clarence Coles Phillips-- was an American artist and illustrator famous for his stylish paintings of women that he created for the advertisements and covers of the leading magazines of the day. His popularity lasted from the mid-1910s well into the Roaring Twenties, and he became famous for the use of the negative space in his work. It was often referred to as "the Fadeaway Girl," and you'll see what I'm talking about because now I'm going to show you a series of his works. Enjoy!

"May time is curtain time" ad - Coles Phillips

"The Lure of Books" - Coles Phillips

"Romance" - Coles Phillips

"Reading" - Coles Phillips

"Reading Lamp" - Coles Phillips

"Letters from Shenanigan Valley Idaho" - Coles Phillips

I think you can tell which paintings are the ones in which Phillips works with the negative space to create "fadeaway girls"-- "Romance," "Reading," and "Letters..."  I think his work really gives a wonderful feeling of the time period, and if you'd like to see more of his magazine covers and ads, you can go to the American Art Archives. By the way... if you think his art is dated, take a look at what I found. Everything old is new again!

Dare I ask what you think of Coles Phillips' art? Inquiring minds would love to know!


  1. Oh, I like these very much, Cathy! I'm no kind of art expert, but I like the warmth and life in them. And the books.

  2. I'm sure I've seen some of these paintings. The "fadeaway" is interesting, but even better they're all reading!

    1. I dunno why, but I tend to like books and reading in my art.... ;-)

  3. Kathleen said: "The use of negative space was very cool except I’m not sure if it worked in the last one, “Letters.” In that one the shelf of books seems to be suspended in midair to the right and her feet don’t seem to be attached to anything. The use of light on the chair’s upholstery in “Reading Lamp” was excellent. Thanks for introducing us to a very interesting artist."

    1. I agree with you, Kathleen, about "Letters." The disembodied feet bothered me in that one. The shelf, not so much. I'm glad you enjoyed taking a look at the man's art.


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