My father was called in at the end of February 1958 to paint a cover for Time representing the financial success of the Beauty Industry.
Otto Fuerbringer the Managing Editor had seen a hair ad in the NY Times that featured a beautiful model. He had the research department find out who she was and insisted she be the face of Beauty for the cover.
Being the 1950’s they introduced the model on page 15 in A Letter from the Publisher as Mrs. Douglas Thom Jr. Her given name was Jean and she worked in Manhattan as a model for major cosmetic houses.
They managed to get glossy prints from that photo shoot for my father to work from. So he took the photos home and worked up several concept layouts as requested by senior brass.
I couldn’t find out online the true color of Jean’s hair or find the original ad (its somewhere in the New York Times in 1958). Obviously he made several subtle changes to the woman’s face and hair style – he might also have changed the hair color too – its hard to know.
For the roses he and Nancy Faber of the Research Division at Time, went down to street level Manhattan and found the perfect blooms at a nearby florist. I’m guessing that my Dad used some of my mother’s personal cosmetics for the other items in the painting.
This beautiful woman became the 1958 iconic face of Beauty overnight.
The cover article, if you are interested, is a fun romp through the history of the beauty industry up to 1958. There are several interesting photos included in the article and a couple of them were too good to pass up…
Anyway – the Beauty Industry aside… I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mad Men creators and casting agents researched the era and found the Time cover by my Dad. Compare Joanie of Mad men (Christina Hendricks) to Jean Thom on the Time cover – the red hair, the classic features, the slender neck, the full red lips?
What do you think? Did they or didn’t they?