Alexander Semeonovitch Liberman (September 4, 1912 – November 19, 1999) was a Ukrainian-American magazine editor, publisher, painter, photographer, and sculptor. He held senior artistic positions during his 32 years at Condé Nast Publications.
Alexander Liberman was born into a Jewish family in Kyiv. When his father took a post advising the Soviet government, the family moved to Moscow. Life there became difficult, and his father secured permission from Lenin and the Politburo to take his son to London in 1921.
Young Liberman was educated in Ukraine, England, and France, where he took up life as a "White émigré" in Paris.
Liberman started his career as a part-time design assistant to graphic artist A. M. Cassandre in Paris for approximately three months in 1930.
Liberman began his publishing career in Paris in 1933–1936 with the early pictorial magazine Vu, where he worked under Lucien Vogel as art director, then managing editor, working with photographers such as Brassaï, André Kertész, and Robert Capa.
He was married briefly to Hildegarde Sturm (August 25, 1936), a model and competitive skier. His second wife (since 1942), Tatiana Yacovleff du Plessix Liberman (1906–1991), a childhood playmate and baby sitter, had operated a hat salon in Paris.
In 1941, Alexander and Tatiana escaped together from occupied France, via Lisbon, to New York.
After emigrating to New York, Tatiana designed hats for Henri Bendel in Manhattan, then continued in millinery at Saks Fifth Avenue where she was billed as "Tatania du Plessix" or "Tatania of Saks", until the mid-1950s.
Shortly after their emigration, Alexander Liberman began working for Condé Nast Publications in 1941, where he worked at Vogue magazine for the next 58 years.
He was hired by Condé Nast as an assistant to Vogue art director Mehemed Fehmy Agha against Agha's wishes and took over the position a year later. From 1941 to 1962, Liberman succeeded Agha as the magazine's art editor. As part of his work as Vogue art director from 1944 to 1961, he published Lee Miller's photographs of the Buchenwald gas chambers.
Liberman was also a photographer. Beginning in 1948, he spent his summers visiting and photographing a generation of modern European artists working in their studios including Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Maurice Utrillo, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Constantin Brancusi, and Pablo Picasso.
In the 1950s did Liberman take up painting and, later, metal sculpture. His highly recognizable sculptures are assembled from industrial objects (segments of steel I-beams, pipes, drums, and such), often painted in uniform bright colors. His massive work The Way, a 65 feet (20 m) x 102 feet (31 m) x 100 feet (30 m) structure, is made of eighteen salvaged steel oil tanks, and became a signature piece of Laumeier Sculpture Park, and a major landmark of St. Louis, Missouri.
In 1962, Alexander Liberman was promoted to editorial director of all Condé Nast publications, United States and Europe, and as deputy chairman (editorial) from 1994 to 1999.
Throughout his life, Liberman held numerous exhibitions of paintings and sculptures.
In 1959 the Museum of Modern Art in New York City exhibited Liberman's photographs of artists and their studios. A year later the images were collected in Liberman's first book, The Artist in his Studio published by Viking Press (Kazanjian and Tomkins, 1993).
In 1992, Alexander Liberman married Melinda Pechangco, a nurse who had cared for Tatiana during an early illness. His stepdaughter, Francine du Plessix Gray, was a noted author.