Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Flair Magazine and the Ransom Center:
The Connection

View a video montage featuring the cover art and designs of Flair magazine

In 1950, Fleur Cowles (1908-2009) created a publication that became a landmark in publishing. Flair's provocative design, enlightened feature articles, and sophisticated advertising layouts left an indelible mark on publishing history. Fleur Cowles and Flair were and remain synonymous.

Cowles prescribed a refreshing juxtaposition of the works of writers, artists, critics, and other notables. Indeed, the heart of Flair was its success in pulling together the new, the controversial, the innovative, and the creative.

Like Flair, the Ransom Center brings together literature and the arts in an innovative way. The works of a rich cross-section of authors, artists, and designers exist side-by-side in the Center, yielding the same sort of insightful adventures found among the pages of Flair.

Since 1994, the Ransom Center's Fleur Cowles Flair Symposium has honored the ideals set forth by Fleur Cowles and her landmark Flair magazine.

About Fleur Cowles

View a video of Fleur Cowles describing her paintings and the inspiration that lead her to produce artwork

Fleur Cowles was an American original. She made her way into the public eye as Associate Editor of Look magazine in the late 1940s, and made her distinct mark in 1950 when she published Flair, still considered one of the most innovative magazines in the history of publishing.

For over 50 years Cowles was a prolific writer, producing 16 books, including her collections of autobiographical anecdotes Friends and Memories and All Too True. Her paintings, filled with jungle beasts and enormous flowers, first received international recognition at the Sao Paulo Biennale in 1965. She exhibited her artwork more than 40 times in galleries and museums around the world.

Throughout the years, Fleur Cowles received numerous honors: she was Ambassador of the United States to the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, received the Queen's medal and has been decorated by four other governments, is a Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art, and carries an honorary degree of Bachelor of Law. She also served on boards supporting such activities as art, literature, and the preservation of wildlife.

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