Gelatin silver print
Image: 23.7 x 19.2 cm (9 5/16 x 7 9/16 in.); Paper: 25.1 x 20.2 cm (9 7/8 x 7 15/16 in.); Matted: 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.)
© The Estate of Edward Steichen / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
John L. Severance Fund 2001.8
Lipstick, inexpensive to make and to buy, added an affordable daily touch of glamour in an impoverished world. An influential fine art photographer, Steichen also worked in portraiture and fashion photography as well as advertising. His photographs for Coty were aspirational lifestyle ads exemplifying the luxury associated with cosmetics. This approach may have been an attempt to restore Coty’s image as a prestige brand. When the Depression hit, Coty’s American sales fell from $50 million in 1929 to $3.5 million in 1933. In response, the company slashed prices to appeal to a mass market, which undermined the prestige of the brand and nearly sank the company
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