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Gil Elvgren – The Complete Pin-Ups
What they say:
Post-depression America was in desperate need of a defining iconography that would lift it out of the black and white doldrums, and it came in the form of Gil Elvgren’s Technicolor fantasies of the American dream. His technique – which earned him a reputation as “The Norman Rockwell of cheesecake” – involved photographing models and then painting them into gorgeous hyper-reality, with longer legs, more flamboyant hair and gravity-defying busts, and in the process making them the perfect moral-boosting eye-candy for every homesick private.
What I say:
This is a really beautiful, substantial book. Perfect to adorn a coffee table, give as a gift or use as a reference.
I am really pleased with the layout. Too often art books are awash with too much writing and too few images. The book keeps all the information, which is well researched and written, at the beginning of the book. This allows for pages and pages of uninterrupted, glorious, vintage pin-ups.
As I have come to expect from Taschen books, the images are cleverly arranged into loosely defined sections. These range from the time of painting, to the pose of the model and nature of the scene.
The publishers have done well to amass such a large collection of Elvgren’s work and I am pleased that they chose to include images for which they could only obtain a less than perfect example. Despite the grainy appearance of some of the lesser known works, which the writer admits are some times a ‘Xerox of a Xerox of a bad photo’, any true lover of Elvgren’s work would much rather see a poor copy of a rare image than not see it at all.
The only ounce of negativity I can muster about this book is that there are numbers in the corner of each image. I hate that. I really feel that an Art book should depict the pieces in a clear, unblemished way. Numbering and overlapping images is one of my pet-hates. I would also have liked a little, more specific information bout some of the pieces.
All things considered, thanks to the luscious content, the skilled layout and the fantastic quality of this book and because I simply adore Gil Elvgren pin-ups, I would happily recommend this book to you.

 

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