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The Real Inspiration Behind the 1950s Pin Up Poster Girls

Gil Elvgren pin up pinup poster girls

Artist and illustrator Gil Elvgren (1914-1980) was famous for his Fifties pin up poster and calendar illustrations, all featuring saucy women batting their eyelashes, pouting their lips and provacatively lifting their skirts to the camera.  With their wide eyes, D-Cup breasts, tiny waists and perfect hair, it may seem that these sultry seductresses were conjured by Elvgren's imagination.  But, the poster girls were modelled after real women, with a bit of tweaking!

Posing for Elvgren would significantly boost a model's career, as his illustrations were contracted by advertising agencies and published widely in advertisements, posters and calendars.  Various Hollywood starlets and actresses post for Elvgren, as well as his very own wife.

Elvgren would painstakingly post the models exactly the way he wanted them and snap their photos with a 2 1/4 Rollei.  The black and white shots would then be references for his illustrations, which he would modify to fit the image of an ideal poster girl.

Extract from Kala Barba-Court - Plain Magazine 22/10/15

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