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 $ 2,000
in 1996 are going for $ 200,000 and more today. Pin-up: drawings, paintings and pastels
of an idealized female face and figure intended for public display, was produced
between 1920 and 1970, for use on calendars, and magazine covers and centerfolds.
The majority of original paintings were discarded by publishers and calendar companies
after printing, making the surviving art that much more precious. Today it’s popularity
is huge, and ripe for an equally huge and truly comprehensive collector’s edition.
The Art of Pin-up is an impressive book that will be coveted by casual fans as well
as hardcore pin-up collectors. The top 10 artists are profiled in depth. Each chapter
opens with a tipped-in reproduction of an original calendar or magazine cover by
that artist. The reproduction quality of the paintings, pastels, and preparatory
sketches that follow—largely sourced from the original art— invites the viewer to
trace the brush strokes, while the exquisite period calendars, vintage prints, and
original model photos document 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.
In addition to the chapters on the 10 featured artists, the book includes thumbnail
bios and representative art of 85 additional artists, the most complete compendium
of pin-up artists ever compiled. All this adds up to a hard-to-beat book on this
Dian Hanson produced a variety of men’s magazines from 1976 to 2001, including Juggs,
Outlaw Biker and Leg Show, before becoming TASCHEN’s Sexy Book editor. Her 60+ books
for TASCHEN include The Art of Pin-up and Psychedelic Sex. She lives in Los Angeles.
The contributing authors
Sarahjane Blum is an author, cultural historian, and co-owner of Grapefruit Moon
Gallery, which specializes in original American illustration art. She lives in Minneapolis,
Louis Meisel is owner of one of the oldest pin-up and illustration art galleries
in New York. He is the co-author of TASCHEN’s The Great American Pin-up and Gil Elvgren:
All his Glamorous American Pin-ups.
DITA VON TEESE
“There are many wonderful TASCHEN pin-up books, but THIS is the ultimate. I actually
own several of the original artworks that are featured in this beautiful book!”