Clarence Coles Phillips / Coles Phillips

Clarence Coles Phillips (Oct. 3, 1880-June 13, 1927); American artist and illustrator who signed his early works C. Coles Phillips, but after 1911 worked under the name, Coles Phillips. Known for his stylish images of women and a signature use of negative space in the paintings he created for advertisements and the covers of popular magazines.

Born in Springfield, Ohio... From 1902 to 1904, he attended Kenyon College in his native state, where he was a member of Alpha Delta Phi. His illustrations were published in the 1901–1904 editions of the school's yearbook, The Reveille.

After leaving Kenyon, Phillips moved to Manhattan, determined to earn a living through his art. He took night classes for 3 months at the Chase School of Art—his only formal artistic training—before establishing his own advertising agency. One of Phillips' employees was the young Edward Hopper, his former classmate.

In 1907, Phillips met with J. A. Mitchell, publisher of Life magazine, and was hired onto its staff at the age of 26.

....Phillips' use of negative space allowed the viewer to "fill-in" the image; it also reduced printing costs for the magazine, as "the novelty of the technique and the striking design qualities masked the fact that Life was getting by with single color or 2-color covers in a day when full-color covers were de rigueur for the better magazines". Phillips worked in watercolor and always painted from life; according to his biographer, Michael Schau, "he refused to work from photographs or to use the pantograph".

After his death, The Saturday Evening Post published a memoir by Phillips’ widow, Teresa Hyde Phillips. She wrote, “His arrangements of the masses, small and large, were to him much more exciting than the color or the idea, or whether the girl was pretty. Pure design, in other words, was his real love, and the fact that he made his reputation as a ..."
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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