A Young Man’s Fancy was published in 1912 by the Famous American artist Clarence Coles Phillips (1880-1927). Phillips was a commercial artist who produced many magazine covers and advertising images. His work is recognizable for a number of reasons. His work usually features a pretty girl. His Fadeaway Girls, like the one in this painting, feature the woman wearing a garment that matches the background of the work to the point of fading away into negative space.
This Fadeaway Girl is wearing a dress that’s a bit more well-defined than many others painted by Phillips but the beautiful coloring creates lush folds and makes the dress drape like it was made from expensive blue velvet. A bit of ankle peaks out from under the hem of the dress – another of Phillip’s common themes, after all he did a lot of commercial art for hosiery companies.
Like so many of Phillip’s Fadeaway Girls this one has our pretty lady actively doing something. Rarely did Coles Phillips paint a woman as if she was sitting for a formal portrait. In this painting his beautiful girl is on a ladder hanging a favorite picture. In one hand she holds the ladder and the picture. In the other hand she holds a small hammer. She is inches away from a handsome young man who has climbed up the other side of the ladder. Clearly a romantic image, the two people look as if they are moments from kissing each other.
Phillips’ dedicated this book of poetry to his wife. Based upon the portrait of Phillips that I’ve seen, this could be a drawing of Phillips and his wife Teresa Hyde. They were married in 1910 and had two sons and a daughter.