Thursday, September 15, 2011

Elvgren : Art and Inspiration

Gil Elvgren (March 15, 1914 – February 29, 1980) is perhaps the most widely recognized pin-up artist of his era.  Best known for his iconic calendar prints produced over a 30 year span for Brown and Bigelow, Elvgren's work has come to define the ideal female form.  Below are several shots of his art and inspiration from those years.

In studying the photos versus the drawings, you can see how he repositioned the girls' shoulders or feet just slightly to make a more flirty, if not physically feasible, posture.  Bosoms are angled to reveal more cleavage, and chins are tipped to give a more coy glance.  Ironic that today we are so up in arms about magazines that airbrush models while it seems that touch-ups are nothing new!  But then isn't beauty almost always an effort to achieve the ideal?


  1. I always thought the paintings presented an impossible female ideal - no one can really look like that! But then I saw the photos of the models he based them on and they're remarkably similar. There are subtle changes, yes, but the overall physique of the models are exactly the same. So yes, a girl really can look like that! It gives me hope. :)

  2. I think I mentioned this before, but, I bought out an estate where the gentleman was a salesman for Brown & Bigelow - I have several original calendar tops of pinups, including Elvgren. What I like about the pins up girls is that they are curvy and "real" thighs, bootie and all. Not like the stick thin flat models of today. Blessings from Ringle


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