IDEA 22 Student

Gil Elvgren

Elvgren was an American painter of pin-up girl paintings. He studied at the American Academy of Art. Gil was Influenced by the “pretty girl” illustrators like Charles dana Gibson, Andrew Loomis and Howard Chandler Christy. 

After studying in Chicago at the American Academy of Art he got hired at Stevens and Gross, one of the most prestigious advertising agency. He soon after became the protege of Haddon Sundblom.

He then began painting calendar pin up women for Louis F. Dow, a popular publishing company. Many of Elvgren’s works were replicated onto the nose of military aircrafts. Gil was then approached by Brown and Bigelow a firm that still dominates the field in producing calendars and advertising specialties.

In the 1950’s he began painting in his home, with his clients ranging from Brown and Bigelow, Coca-Cola, General Electric and Sealy Mattress Company. Elvgren also illustrated for a slew of magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post and Good Housekeeping. He used models for these pinups and celebrity women of the day such as Barbara Hale, Lola Albright, Kim Novak, Donna Reed and Myrna Hansen.

I know the current view of pinup paintings isn’t in the best light, but personally I love them! I think they’re kind of funny and they are kind of a thing of the past it doesn’t really bother me. 

Gil Elvgren’s are painted so well and subtle. I love the colours and the beautiful women, it’s very attractive work that can sometimes make you roll your eyes at the times but also laugh. Though I feel like I have a specific face when I think of the pin up women painted. I feel like so many of them have the same face. Unsure if it was just a “type” or all the women legitimately had shared features. 


Jeff Burgess says:


Nice work on both Raleigh and Elvgren. Great images and well researched. Like your personal insights and tastes expressed in your writing as well. even though Elvgren is possibly not popular in the sense of the age we live in and the attitude toward women as sexy objects, no one can doubt his abilities and I do love his work (quietly in some circles) as well.

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