Redbook Cover by Haskell Coffin
This romantic and dreamy pastel by the important pretty girl illustrator Haskell Coffin appeared as the cover of the July 1923 edition of Redbook magazine. In the 1920s, Redbook was one of the premiere fiction magazines in the country, with stories by authors ranging from Jack London to Edith Wharton. The magazine explored topics both refined and exciting, a balance captured beautifully in this original artwork. The pastel is handsomely framed and properly lined under glass.
This illustration comes from the collection of esteemed illustration art collector Norman Platnick.
About the artist: Haskell Coffin
William Haskell Coffin (October 21, 1878 – May 12, 1941) was a painter and commercial artist who flourished in the early decades of the twentieth century. His work appeared on the cover of leading magazines in the United States and on posters that the US government commissioned.
Coffin was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on October 21, 1878, the son of Julia (Haskell) and George Mathewes Coffin. When he was young, his family moved to Washington, D.C, where he attended the Corcoran School of Art. After a brief stint back in Charleston, where he painted portraits of society ladies, he went to France in 1902 to complete his training as an artist.
Coffin specialized in images of women, which were reproduced on the covers of popular magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post, The American Magazine, Redbook, McCall's, Leslie's Illustrated, and the Pictorial Review. He was one of the most highly paid illustrators of his era.
Coffin was married twice. His second wife was actress Frances Starr; they eventually divorced.
Coffin was being treated for depression in an institution in St. Petersburg, Florida when he leaped from an third-story window and died on May 12, 1941.
The Legacy of Norman Platnick
In his New York Times obituary, Norman Platnick’s son Will said that his father had three passions in life, his wife Nancy, spiders, and collecting.
Few individuals have the chance to leave a mark like Norm’s in even one field, let alone two. But Norm managed to be both a celebrated scientist, and one of the most influential lay historians of illustration art.
Under his imprint Enchantment Ink, Norm researched, wrote, and published collectors guides to artists like Rolf Armstrong and Earl Christy. We at Grapefruit Moon Gallery rely on these books in our work, and they are now all freely available as PDFs through the Enchantment Ink website.
Norm’s expertise was a gift, his friendship was a treasure, and his legacy is immeasurable. He is missed.