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Pin Up Girls

Do you still find all those enormously sensual images of women (on your social networking feeds mostly) – attractive, arousing and funny? Then for your information, you are looking at a Pin Up Artist.


Eroticism and the sexual appeal of women have been bemusing art and culture since forever! During the times of print, before these computers with internet which have tons of information and pictures available at a click of search command, the Pin Up artists (read, pin up girls) created waves throughout the world with their sexual appeal though in a funny way.

Pin-ups are basically intended for informal display, e.g. meant to be “pinned-up” on a wall. Pin-up girls may be glamour models, fashion models, or actresses. These pictures are also known as cheesecake photos. The term pin-up may also refer to drawings, paintings, posters and other illustrations done in imitation of these photos. Now days, we have several comics and posters and even those funny quotes we see making the rounds of internet, done in lieu of the same.

A brief history

The term was first attested to in English in 1941 however, the practice is documented back at least to the 1890s.

In the late 19th century, burlesque performers and actresses used photographic advertisement as business cards to promote themselves. Understanding the power of photographic advertisements to promote their shows, burlesque women self-constructed (in the form of pin-ups) their identity to make themselves visible. 19th-century era’s views on women’s potential were intricately tied to their sexuality. Being sexually fantasized, famous actresses in early 20th-century film were both drawn and photographed and put on posters to be sold for personal entertainment.

Later, posters of pin-up girls were mass-produced and became an instant hit. As social standards changed, male subjects also began to be featured in pin-ups.

Why the pin ups?

Since women realized that society objectifies them in a certain manner, exploiting their sexuality seemed to be the only option left to them. Being Pinned up they could avoid the call for overt sexualized images; instead they could tease and restrict. In magazines, on lockers, and even on the sides of planes, these images of titillating women smiling while showing off just the right amount of skin often accompanied lonely soldiers, especially during World War II

Jotting down a brief list of the most famous pin up artists (both muses and their artists) to tease you a little more

1. Betty Grable

One of the most popular early pin-up girls was Betty Grable, whose poster was ubiquitous in the lockers of soldiers during World War II.

Grable was an American actress, dancer, and singer and popular contract star for 20th Century-Fox during the 1940s and 1950s.Throughout her career, Grable was celebrated for having the most beautiful legs in Hollywood. Her iconic bathing suit poster made her the number one pin-up girl of World War II. It was later included in the Life magazine project “100 Photographs that Changed the World”.

2. Fernande Barrey

In Europe, prior to the First World War, were the likes of Fernande Barrey arguably the world’s first pinup as is known in the modern sense. Miss Barrey displayed ample cleavage and full frontal nudity. Her pictures were cherished by soldiers on both sides of the First World War conflict.

3. Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe was arguably the most famous pin-up girl of all time. She was also one of the first truly modern celebrities, the kind which besmirch our televisions and homepages ad museum today. She was famous for her acting, famous for her singing and famous for being an attractive blonde lady who occasionally got naked. Her troubled life was a classic, tragic tale of Hollywood excess, but one that will never be forgotten.

4.Gil Elvgren

One of the most important pin-up and glamour artists of the twentieth century, Elvgren was a classical American illustrator. He was a master of portraying the all-American ideal feminine but he wasn’t limited to the calendar pin-up industry. He was strongly influenced by the early “pretty girl” illustrators, such as Charles Dana Gibson, Andrew Loomis, and Howard Chandler Christy. In 1937, Gil began painting calendar pin-ups for Louis F. Dow, one of America’s leading publishing companies, during which time he created about 60 works. Around 1944, Gil was approached by Brown and Bigelow, a firm that still dominates the field in producing calendars and advertising specialties.

5. Zoe Mozert

Zoë Mozert had the advantage of being both beautiful and talented enough to serve as a muse and artist. According to The Lingerie Addict, “when she used herself as a model, she would carefully light her studio, then use a photograph or a mirror to create the reference.” And while she preferred the more wholesome girl-next-door look over the typical bombshell, her usage of bold pastel hues made her a favorite among Hollywood.

6. Pearl Frush

Calendar artist Pearl Frush was widely celebrated during the 1950s for her true-to-life paintings that some contemporary critics have described as resembling “airbrushed photographs.” Unfortunately, her primary choice of medium, gouache and watercolors, limited her ability to create artworks on a large enough scale. Frush, an Iowa native initially enrolled in art classes in New Orleans, eventually mastered her craft in Philadelphia, New York, and Chicago. She relied on her love for the outdoors to draw shapely gals getting physical, all while baring just the right amount of skin to leave viewers begging for more. Her hanger calendars were hot items in their time and are still sought after as collectibles.