The Photographs Behind Gil Elvgren's 1950s Pin-Up Girl Art


In this day of over-sharing, Sex and the City, and American Apparel ads, it’s hard to resist a good, classy 1950s pin-up girl. Back in the day, guys liked to look at pretty girls holding puppies! Now they — well, nevermind. So needless to say, we love these Norman Rockwell-style model and portrait pairings that we came across over at How to be a Retronaut. The pin-up paintings (and photographs, of course) were created by Gil Elvgren, one of America’s most notable pin-up artists. What you may not realize (we didn’t at first), is that the photographs all show the same model — Elvgren’s wife — though she appears with different haircuts, and obviously wearing every outfit under the sun. Pin-up girls were meant to be stylized, idealized versions of women, and we think it’s kind of sweet that Elvgren saw his own wife as the perfect model of the fantasy woman, and used her for the basis for so much of his art. Also, he’s lucky that she had such great legs. Just saying!