Great American
Pinup Gallery

Most Americans who lived during the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth were not able to visit museums or purchase art books. The only art they saw on a regular basis was illustration art. Commissioned by large publishing and advertising firms, images of paintings adorned the covers and pages of all American magazines and regional newspapers of the day.

The 1920’s gave rise to new imagery as competition between the publishing houses increased. Publishers knew only too well that, in the highly competitive market place, one sure way to secure new readers was to have either captivating people or highly dramatic narratives adorn their covers. Imagery of attractive women, men, children and families became highly sort after. Pin-up and glamour illustrations were borne from this demand. 
As time progressed, the leading ad agencies and corporations often employed pin-up and glamour art to sell and promote products and ideas; illustrations were commissioned for advertising, calendars, pin-up and pulp magazines, art cards and specialty products. Companies like Ditzler, Coca-Cola, and NAPA frequently used such subjects to build national advertising campaigns, which sometimes spanned several decades and therefore influenced generations of Americans. 
Of the hundreds of artists and illustrators contributing to periodicals in the years from 1920 to 1970, approximately fifty worked almost exclusively in the pin-up and glamour fields. Today, many of these pin-up artists are recognized for their achievements. Alberto Vargas, Gil Elvgren, Joyce Ballantyne and Rolf Armstrong’s imagery are now highly coveted. The Great American Pin-Up features original paintings, drawings and gouaches by some of the most recognizable names from this period. Assembled by Louis Meisel, the leading dealer in this genre, this collection is available to be viewed during gallery business hours or by appointment.  

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