The art of pin-upBy Dian Hanson, Sarahjane Blum, and Louis K. Meisel
One big slice of cheesecake. Pin-up travels the long road from barracks wall to high art. In the 15 years since TASCHEN released The Great American Pin-up, international interest in this distinctly American art form has increased exponentially. Paintings by leading artists such as Alberto Vargas, George Petty, and Gil Elvgren that sold for $ 2000 in 1996 are going for $ 200,000 and more today. Pin-up, defined as drawings or paintings of pretty girls that stop short of frank nudity, was produced between 1920 and 1970, and much of it was discarded by publishers and calendar companies after printing. Today it's huge, and ripe for an equally huge and truly comprehensive collector's edition. Formidably sized, The Art of Pin-up is an impressive book that will be coveted by casual fans as well as hardcore pin-up collectors. The reproduction quality of the paintings, pastels, and preparatory sketches - largely sourced from the original art - invites the viewer to trace the brush strokes in these full-page delights. Each chapter contains exquisite period calendars, vintage prints, and original model photos as well, documenting the artists' creative process. Much of these ephemera were photographed on-site at the historic Brown & Bigelow Company, home to the world's largest archive of vintage pin-up calendars. Following the chapters on the 15 featured artists, the book concludes with an "Encyclopedia of Pin-up," featuring thumbnail bios and representative art of 72 additional artists, the most complete compendium of pin-up artists ever compiled. All this adds up to a hard-to-beat book on this popular subject.