Michael Schau, in his 1975 book All American Girl, wrote
During the golden age of illustration, the name and art of Coles Phillips ranked alongside the great illustrative artists of the day. The Phillips Girl became as popular with the American public as those images created by Charles Dana Gibson and Harrison Fisher, pictures as instantly recognizable as those of his best fellow artists - Maxfield Parrish, Howard Chandler Christy, James Montgomery Flagg, J. C. Leyendecker and Norman Rockwell.
Coles Phillips position in the forefront of American illustration is a fact, but his art cannot be discussed in the same context as that of his contemporaries. Like many illustrators who glorified a particular aspect of American life rural innocence, urban sophistication, the Gay Nineties - Phillips painted the ideal image of American womanhood. But he was far more interested in graphic design than subject matter. Phillips painted dream girls, fantasy women, an already-universal subject, but through imaginative design the very heart of any Phillips picture he created his own special view of American women as well.