Clifford Coffin photographs from Vogue 1945-55


Clifford Coffin photographs from Vogue 1945 to 1955.

Edited and with a text by Robin Muir

144 pages, 113 colour and duotone plates

ISBN 3-88814-790-5

This book explores the work of Clifford Coffin, one of the most innovative and intriguing fashion photographers of the 1940s and 1950s. Even Norman Parkinson – who did not readily praise his colleagues – admitted that Coffin’s fashion photographs were the only other Vogue pictures he ever really admired. One colleague at Vogue claimed that Coffin “was the first photographer to actually think fashion, sometimes more than the fashion editors.” For fourteen years, from 1944 to 1958, Coffin worked for such renowned fashion magazines as Glamour, Vogue and Jardin des Modes in New York, London and Paris.

And it was an extraordinary moment when, in 1986, all the negatives Coffin produced for British Vogue were rediscovered after forty years locked away in the magazine’s offices. Neatly stored in manilla envelopes, they are virtually all that is left of a brilliant career. An arson attack on his Manhattan apartment destroved everything else he had.

Until now. much of Coffin’s life has been a mystery.

Robin Muir’s meticulous research tells the story for the first time of this fascinating man, who was born in Illinois in 1913, would rather have been a dancer, was friends with Truman Capote and in the post war years was vivid and outspoken homosexual.

Coffin’s early fashion photographs owe much to Cecil Beaton, who offered encouragement to his young colleague at Vogue, while his surrealistic pictures were inspired by the work of George Platt Lynes, whose photography courses Coffin attended in New York.

Apart from his fashion photographs this book contains numerous portraits of leading figures in the literary, artistic and theatrical circles of the era – including a youthful Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Lucian Freud and Laurence Olivier. One of Coffin’s most celebrated portraits is of Christian Dior taken on the eve of the couturier’s first collection which brought him worldwide acclaim, while another shows Henri Matisse, late in life, working in bed on his paper cut-outs.

For Coffin, wrote Vogue, “nothing was too much trouble; in his search for what he wanted he reduced models to tears, fashion editors to desperation and himself to complete exhaustion. From the rubble of emotion emerged a perfect cool picture.”

This first, extensive monograph on Clifford Coffin will accompany a retrospective exhibition of his work at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Condition: Good.

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Informazioni aggiuntive

Peso 1215 g
Dimensioni 30 × 25 × 2 cm


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