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Pin up Dreams based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Archie Dickens, Gil Elvgren, and Rolf Armstrong...they make up the 'Holy Trinity' of glamour and pin-up artists. There isn't artist working in the pin-up field today that doesn't owe something to these men. Pin-up Dreams focuses on Armstrong, the earliest of the trio, born in 1889. Armstrong's prolific career included over 200 magazine covers for publications such as Photoplay, Screenland, and College Humor, and over 200 calendar images. Armstrong would begin his art education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1907 and this book features some of Armstrong earliest charcoal work from the period. Armstrong moved to New York to pursue a career as a commercial artist when he got his first credits illustrating covers for long defunct magazines such as Puck. Due to an injury suffered as a child, Armstrong was unfit for military duty in WWI but made his contribution in other ways such as by painting recruitment posters. In the 20's, Armstrong was doing a great deal of commercial work, illustrating his beautiful women hawking products such as Orange Kist and Nehi soft drinks, Tudor Plates, Blue Bird grape juice, and many others. Throughout the teens and 20's, the bulk of Amstrong's women were done in facial portraits. As we move into the 30's and 40's, Armstrong has now developed the glamorous pin-up style he's most well known for. The Armstrong woman is beautiful, demure, and always stylish. The thing that stands out about his work to me has always been that his women are painted in the latest fashions. His work from this period is my favorite. Page 109 of the book displays one of my most favorite Armstrong paintings entitled 'Song of India' showing a semi-nude, raven haired beauty dressed in wispy, silky robes, fluttering in the wind against the back drop of ancient India. It's a striking, evocative piece. But less you think that Armstrong was strictly a pin-up artist, this book shows otherwise. There is a marvelous pastel of The Frankenstein monster, done during the filming of Bride of Frankenstein that is just a treat to behold. There is even a photograph of Boris Karloff, in full Jack Pierce makeup, posting for Armstrong. Other celebrity portraits in the book include Constance Bennett, best known for the Topper movies Mary Astor of The Maltese Falcon, and James Gleason, a great character actor who appeared in over 125 films in his career. Armstrong himself road the celebrity circuit and counted actors James Cagney and Henry Fonda among his friends. While the authors make the clear distinction between glamour and pin-up artists, Armstrong did certainly do his share of risqué pin-ups, including many nudes. One great piece in the book is 'Hold Everything' showing an embarrassed brunette clutching her dress close to her that has just fallen off. There are a number of great WWII era pin-ups just like this one in the book. This is a fascinating look at one of the true giants of illustration. The book features over 300 full color paintings by Armstrong, printed on heavy stock paper. An outstanding book from Watson-Guptill. Reviewed by Tim Janson
Your readers will finally get to see what I've seen for many years. Rolf Armstrong's story was nearly lost except for a handfull of octagenarians who passed it on to the authors. This book not only shows Rolf's lifetime of work, but captures his personality and time. His work is finally documented and his place in 20th century art will place him up with his peers, Leyendecker, Parrish, Weyth, etc. The book shows what beauty and art are when a master puts them together. We don't see this kind of talent in museums. Too bad.