Gil Elvgren’s girls

The style of the advertising and calender pin-up girl circa 1930 to 1970 is and has been hugely influential in modern fashion, not least due to the current mass popularity of all things vintage and retro. We love these cheeky girls, and their style, hugely influential in its day, is still inspiring vintage fashion choices and designs today. Whether you approve of pin-ups or not, I hope you will find these photographs interesting; I was completely absorbed. I had never really thought about it before, but of course there had to be a model for the paintings. These models were posing for Gil Elvgren, arguably the most influential and sought-after glamour artist of the twentieth century. At a 2007 auction, on of his paintings sold for in excess of $260,000!

What I found most interesting is the ‘airbrushing’ from photograph to painting; the techniques employed by Elvgren are exactly the same as those used by photographers today. Increasing the distance between the eyes to make the face prettier, slimming the waist and legs, exaggerating the posture. Our standard of beauty doesn’t appear to have changed that much through time; slender is still preferred, a discernible waist to hip ratio a must, and when editing faces today photographers typically do all they can to make eyes seem bigger and brighter. I think I find it comforting to realise that women have always been exposed to, and trying to conform to unrealistic standards of beauty. Therefore we should all just stop worrying and get on with being fabulous. There, how’s that for a cheesy Tuesday morning message? Happy Tuesday everyone! x

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4 comments to Gil Elvgren’s girls

  • That’s funny, I was thinking as I was going through the pictures how much slimmer he had made the waists. I’ve always seen these pictures and thought how slim the women are, then stupidly just assumed that that was how the models were too. Clearly not so! It’s particularly obvious looking at the puppy picture, really, when you start to look out for it. Who could possibly have a waist that tiny and a bum that big?!

    The faces look completely different to me. It looks like Marilyn Monroe perched atop the kennel!

  • This is so super interesting. Good observations and wonderful examples. Yes, I guess things have not changed so much. The painting practically makes a different woman.

    Thanks for sharing, Lizzy.


    I think openness toward different types of women has definitely become better in recent years. I believe there was much more pressure back then to look and be a certain way.

    I love both the paintings and photos. Thanks for sharing with us!
    Twitter @theloudermouth

  • William Elvgren

    I’m glad to have him in my family. We have many of his pictures and my fpgrandfather grew up with him. He said it was unbelievable on how great of a father he was. He also had time for me and my mom. I can’t wait to see him in heaven.

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