It is a well-known fact that people respond better to advertisements that feature people in them rather than just objects or a vista. It can make the ad more relatable. If you use attractive people however, then it also makes the product more desirable as the model’s desirability is transferred by association.
Today, we’re featuring pin-up art, often used to advertise products, which was and still is divisive due to its obvious sexuality. Its roots lay in post-Victorian England and began, according to some, as a positive affirmation of feminine beauty that rejected the shame associated with physicality during the Victorian period. Those who disagree point to the objectification of women and claim this work demeans them.
Regardless of your opinion on the matter, there is no debate as to the mastery of the artists behind the work. With a keen understanding of anatomy and proportion (and how to cheat them ever-so-slightly), these men knew they weren’t creating high art but approached their subjects and jobs in the same professional manner as if they had.
Most of the work displayed here is by illustrators Gil Elvgren, Art Frahm, George Petty, or the incomparable Alberto Vargas. They worked during the “golden age” of the pin-up (as well as many years preceding and following) from the ‘30s through the late ‘40s. Sadly, as photography became more common and much of pin-up art more illicit, the taste for this sort of imagery fell-out of favor.