I have been a fan of pinup art for years and although there have been many great pinup artists over the years Gil Elvgren remains my favorite, as well as the recognized favorite of most pinup art fans, collectors, and fellow artists. Over a year ago I added the book Gil Elvgren, The complete pin-ups to my pinup collection to have as many photos of Gil Elvgren paintings as I possibly could. The yearly Brown & Bigelow pinup calendars are wonderful (I have to have them!) but they only offer 12 Gil Elvgren pinups per year vs. the more than 500 pinup illustrations in the book. As quoted in the book, Gil Elvgren is a “master in portraying feminine beauty”. He had a way of combining the innocence of the girl next door with a beautiful subtle seductiveness. Gil Elvgren was also a professional photographer and used the same passion he put into his paintings when taking photographs. Along with the pinup girl paintings he made for Brown & Bigelow’s pinup calendars over a 30 year span, his career as an oil on canvas artist also included the famously recognized Coca Cola advertisements he painted for them for 25 years, as well as other paintings for other companies such as General Electric and Good Housekeeping magazine.
To learn more about the Gil Elvgren, his career, who he was influenced by, what inspired him, and to see many more of his pinup paintings I recommend getting the book- Gil Elvgren, The complete pin-ups. The photos are great and this book has the most complete collection of Gil Elvgren’s pinups, from 1937 to his unfinished last painting in 1980 when he died of cancer at the age of 65.
There are so many of his paintings I love that it was hard to pick my 10 favorite, but here they are:
1. A Number to Remember, 1955
2. Weighty Problem (Starting at the Bottom), 1962
3. Waisted Effort, 1950
4. All Wound Up (Keyed Up), 1964
5. Gentlemen Prefer…? (Gents Prefer), 1963
6. Let’s Eat Out, 1967
7. Bubbling Over, 1951
8. I Must Be Going to Waist (Waisted Effort), 1946
9. What’s Up?, 1957
10. Air-Conditioned, 1950