image
image
 

Gil Elvgren



Gil Elvgren

Gil Elvgren - (1914-1980)

  This Gil Elvgren gouache painting on board was probably intended to be used as an ad for beer. The husband is returning from work with a bouquet of flowers behind his back, while his wife is waiting at the door with a bottle of beer for her husband. This painting was probably done in the late 1940's. The model in this image has the typical Elvgren look, which is very similar to Elvgren's models that he used for his pin up calendar girls. This painting is signed in the lower right corner with his later cursive signature.

  Gil Elvgren was born on March 15,1914 in St. Paul, MN. He was one of the most important pin up and glamour artists of the twentieth century, although his work was not limited to the calandar pin up industry. His work was influenced by the early "pretty girl" illustrators such as Charles Dana Gibson, Andrew Loomis and Howard Chandler Christy. He was also strongly influenced by the Brandywine School, founded by Howard Pyle. Elvgren was best known as a painter of pin up girls, advertising, and illustration images.

  After high school graduation, he studied art at the Minneapolis Art Institute. Some of his fellow students were Al Buell, Andrew Loomis, Coby Whitmore and Robert Skemp, famous illustrators, many of whom would later do work for Coca Cola, as well as Elvgren.

  He graduated during the depression and at the age of 22, joined Chicago's most prestigious advertising agency, Stevens and Gross. There, he worked in Haddon Sundblom's shop, where Sundblom, who had studied at the American Academy of Fine Art taught his star pupil the lush brush stroke technique that made the Elvgren girls come alive. Sundblom is most famous for his"Coca Cola" Santas. Elvgren contributed to many Coca Cola ads, as well. He worked alongside Al Buell and Andrew Loomis, among other famous illustrators.

  In 1937, Elvgren began painting calendar pin ups for the Louis F. Dow Calendar Company. The calendar images painted for the Louis F. Dow Calendar Company are easily recognizable, as they are signed with a printed version of his name.

  Around 1944, Elvgren was asked by the Brown and Bigelow Calendar Company to join their stable of artists. Brown and Bigelow, a firm that was the leader in calendars and advertising specialties offered him around $1000 per pin up, an offer that he could not refuse. He was to produce 20 calendar girls each year. Many of his models were girls new to the modeling business portraying the "the girl next door", caught unaware in an embarassing situation. All of his Brown and Bigelow calendar images contain his later cursive signature. By 1951, he was being paid $2500 per canvas by Brown and Bigelow, at a rate of 24 per year.

  His contract with Brown and Bigelow allowed him to create illustrations for advertising to be used by other companies, as long as they were not a conflict of interest with the calendar company. Elvgren's nearly 25 year stint doing advertising work for Coca Cola helped to establish him as one of the greatest illustrators in this field, as well. Most of his Coca Cola ads depicted ordinary people in everyday situations. His Coca Cola images eventually became acknowledged icons of American life.

  In addition to Coca Cola, Elvgren found time to produce advertising images for Schlitz Beer, Orange Crush, RC Cola, Ovaltine, Sylvania, Napa Auto Parts, Detzler Automotive Finishes, Four Roses Blended Whiskey, General Electric, and Pangburn's Chocolates, among others.

  From the mid 1930's until 1972, Gil Elvgren produced over 500 pin up images of beautiful girls and women. His 30" x 24"oils on stretched canvas are surpassed only by originals done by Alberto Vargas.

  Gil Elvgren passed away on February 29, 1980.

(Place mouse on image to view close-up.)



SHHBOOM Illustration Gallery
image

image
image
© Copyright 2018  Shhboom Illustration Gallery , All Rights Reserved
For more information Contact Us
Site Map