Thursday, 6 November 2014

Just like the girl next door

If you have the 1996 Taschen The Great American Pin-Up book you'll already have a lot of the paintings in this book but what you won't have is them beautifully presented in the ultimate pin-up book. What you'll get is worth describing:
1 The book, because of its large size, comes in a box with a carrying handle. Nicely this has two Vargas paintings on the front and back which could even stretch to framing.
2 The first ninety-one pages has a heavily illustrated essay (in English, German, French) about the history of pin-up art and artists. The essay has excellent deep captions to the illustrations.
3 Ten artists are considered in depth, each starts with a several hundred word essay followed by their work and photos of models and other printed ephemera that used the pin-up art, especially calendars
4 Each of the artist chapters starts with spread of thickish colored paper, the artists signature on the left and a tipped color print, frequently a page from a calendar on the right. There's another tipped painting opposite the Contents page.
5 There are three pull-outs of paintings by Elvgren, Petty and Vargas, these are forty-four inches wide.
6 The last forty-three pages have a brief look at fifty other artists (1900 to 1975) with examples of their, some of these are whole page in size.
7 There eight spread wide (twenty-two inches) paintings by Bill Medcalf: one; Petty: two; Vargas: five. Throughout the book there are plenty of whole page paintings, about fifteen inches deep.
8 The paper, binding and printing (in Italy using a 200 screen) are first-class as you expect from Taschen.

Dian Hanson's front of book essay gives some interesting detail about the publishers of pin-up art, especially Brown & Bigelow (without them this book wouldn't exist) Esquire and Playboy. With 546 pages and huge size this must be the ultimate pin-up art book, I doubt they'll be anything better in future years.

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