Peek-a-Boo! | A Little Pinup History

Here is a great little post, not to mention the lovely photo of model April Eberle, taken from over at one of our friends blogs, AM Photography Amanda Hill.  Be sure to check out her work, and if you live nearby then really go check her work in person.

This photo is a nod to Gil Elvgren’s classic work. My how I love pinups! Which brings me to this blog post…and why pinups began.  During the 1940′s and WWII, lovely ladies were painted on the sides of military aircraft to being good luck to the men on mission. Add to this the scraps of photos that military men kept in their barracks, and one can see how the pinup genre gained such great attention..


Immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, General Electric asked Elvgren to do some national advertising work for their War Effort campaign. His first ad painting for the company, published in June 1942 as a full page in Good Housekeeping , carried the caption “She Knows What Freedom Really Means” and depicted a proud Elvgren Girl dressed in an officer’s uniform of the Red Cross Motor Corps. With the need to encourage the troops, the Louis F. Dow Company very smartly repackaged some of the special twelve-print Elvgren pin-up booklets so that they could be easily mailed without an envelope from the United States to GIs fighting abroad. These proved a smashing success.

Newspapers and magazines of the period were filled with stories about the soldiers who were abroad fighting the war, for it would be hard to find an American who did not have a neighbor or loved one in the armed services. Often focusing on the morale of the troops, such stories would be illustrated with snapshots of the soldiers in their barracks or tents or perhaps even in a battlefield trench during a lull in the fighting. Quite often, one can spot Elvgren’s Louis F. Dow pin-up prints and booklets hanging on a wall, glued to a knapsack, or clutched by a young, obviously lonely soldier. The only other pin-up artist whose work was so prominently featured in these stories was Alberto Vargas, who had Esquire magazine behind him. Elvgren’s accomplishment is all the more amazing in that he had attained such popularity within five years of opening his first studio. No doubt his art had met with such a response from the American public because it offered escape from reality, and even solace, during the dark days of the war.

And when asked about his girls, Gil Elvgren said:  ”A gal with highly mobile facial features capable of a wide range of expressions is the real jewel. The face is the personality.”

So, it seems the playful innocence of pinup portraits are far from lost. Let me know in the comments, Why do you like pinups?

Source: AM Photography Amanda Hill.

About Sad Man's Tongue: Rockabilly Bar & Bistro - Prague

We are a Bar and Bistro where old school meets the new school, dedicated to preserving the roots of rock and roll and it's modern adaptations as well as preserving the cultural identity of our neighborhood through our food, the the principles of the slow food movement. A little bit of rockabilly and retro combine with the kustom kulture of today, in an atmosphere devoid of Pretension.
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3 Responses to Peek-a-Boo! | A Little Pinup History

  1. Pingback: Peek-a-Boo! | A Little Pinup History | Rockabilly |

  2. Great post! I love pinups because they portray sexy as beautiful and natural, instead of sexual!

  3. Thank you for sharing about my little studio! I really love pinups because it reminds me of a time with curvy women were celebrated and size 10 was considered normal. Pinups rallied the troops, literally!

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