An in-depth look at the man who redefined magazine culture

It’s Modern. is the sort of visually arresting book you can’t digest in one sitting. A terrific celebration of the life of Alexander Liberman, Condé Nast’s storied Editorial Director — who oversaw everything from Vogue and Glamour to House & Garden and Self — it features all the indelible images of his career. Deborah Turbeville’s bathing beauties in white. A cigarette-smoking Marlene Dietrich. Dewy tulip close-ups by Irving Penn. Few have impacted — and redefined — magazine culture like he did. But the book, by former Vogue Design Director (and Liberman protégé) Charles Churchward, highlights his personal artwork as well, uncovering the story behind his numerous abstract paintings, massive metal sculptures and intimate photographs of Picasso, Matisse and Giacometti in their own studios. The resulting oeuvre, which spans much of the 20th century, is impressively vast and just plain impressive.

From left: Cover of the first edition of Liberman’s book, The Artist in his Studio, 1960, from Viking Press; the cover of It’s Modern.: The Eye and Visual Influence of Alexander Liberman by Charles Churchward, Rizzoli New York, 2013

More to explore in Culture