Before Life magazine became Henry Luce’s photojournalism gem, it was a “cultured” humor magazine founded in 1883 with an emphasis on satirizing New York’s social scene, lower classes and racial and ethnic minorities. In the 1900s, when it cost just 10 cents, illustrator Charles Dana Gibson devised the magazine’s most celebrated figure in its early decades. His creation was the Gibson Girl, a perfectly proportioned, regal beauty—the nation’s feminine ideal.
Life became known as a haven for clean and pristine wordless cover illustrations. It showed a WASP America, lily white and platonic beauty.
Gibson was the art editor and in 1914 encouraged editor/publisher James Mitchell to inject politics through fiery pro-American editorials and imagery. Mitchell and Gibson were incensed when Germany attacked Belgium.
In 1918, Gibson bought the magazine for $1 million but its brand of humor and style of art had become passe since its golden age in the early 1900s. Still, it left a significant mark on the worlds of illustration, manners, mores and style.
PRINT’s Summer 2015 Issue: Out Now!
The New Visual Artists are here! In this issue, meet our 2015 class of 15 brilliant creatives under 30. These carefully selected designers are on the scene making the most cutting-edge work today—and as many of our previous NVAs, they may go on to become tomorrow’s design leaders. Why not get to know them now? Check the full issue out here.