Born in 1946, Christian Coigny spent his youth in Lausanne. At 20, he briefly attended the Vevey School of Photography, where he primarily studied graphic design and composition. His burning desire to test himself in the trade led him to San Francisco, where he stayed for five years. With a meagre portfolio thus far, he managed to land a job on the Leviâ€™s campaign, as well as a substantial volume of advertising work for Californian wines. At the same time, he familiarised himself with the art of still life. He then spent a year dividing his time between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, working for a number of fashion magazines.
On his return to Switzerland, he set up home permanently on the shores of Lake Geneva. He worked with various womenâ€™s magazines and was noticed by luxury fashion retail group BongÃ©nie Grieder, who put him in charge of their poster campaign. These images would mark the true beginning of his career in Europe. He also works for numerous big name clockmakers and prestigious jewellers, including Chopard, with whom he has maintained a close relationship for thirty years.
Alongside these commitments, Christian Coigny took up his own work which, over the years, has come to occupy an ever greater place in his career. He published several works, among them Hommes et Portraits dâ€™Artistes – Men and Portraits of Artists – (Favre). A Zurich advertising agency, very taken with his portrait of Jean Anouilh, offered him the Personalities campaign for Vitra. The 130 portraits of musicians, writers, painters and actors were shown in an exhibition at the MusÃ©e des arts dÃ©coratifs, in Paris in 2001. These photographs of famous people, seated on chairs by great designers such as Eames, Citterio, Starck, Bellini, Morrison or Thiel, are collected in the book, Sitting (Prestel).