The Great American Pin-Up from publishers Taschen. Having previously read and reviewed 1000 Pin-up Girls and Gil Elvgren - The Complete Pin Ups I was looking forward to getting my mitts on this book and I have to say it didn't disappoint. The book is a comprehensive overview of the best American pin up artists and features over 500 beautiful pin up illustrations.
The book starts with an overview of 'The Fine Art of Illustration' which follows the history of illustration from humble beginnings to its emergence as an art form in its own right.This is followed up by an overview of 'The Great American Pinup' which follows pinup art from the 1920s to 1970s where practically all advertisements were essentially 'pin ups'. Due to its popularity pin up art spread to calendar, collectors cards and magazines such as Beauty Parade, Whisper, Wink, Eyeful, Titter, Flirt and Giggles. The height of the pin ups popularity was WWII when the soldiers took pin up and risque pictures to war with them. Pin up art declined in the 1970s when advertisers and calendars started using photos instead of drawings and it is only in recent years that these artist-illustrators are only now being recognized for their real contributions to the history of American art.
The book continues with biographies of some of the most prominent american pin up artists and examples of their work. These include Rolf Armstrong, Joyce Ballantyne, Al Buell, Edward D’Ancona, Billy DeVorss, Peter Driben, Harry Ekman, Freeman Elliot, Gil Elvgren, Art Frahm, Pearl Frush, Earl Mac Pherson, Bill Medcalf, Al Moore, Earl Moran, Zoë Mozert, K. O. Munson, George Petty, Edward Runci, T. N. Thompson and Alberto Vargas.
In conclusion this book is a must buy for any fan of the pinup genre.