Erotic depictions of women in drawing, painting, sculpture and photography from the dawn of man to the present.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Venus by Rolf Armstrong

 Venus (1934)

Rolf Armstrong (1889-1960), another of the great American pin-up artists, was born in Bay City, Michigan but moved with his family, first to Detroit and then Seattle in 1903, following the death of his father.  He moved to Chicago at the age of nineteen.  He attended the Art Institute there but then continued his studies in New York and then Paris.  By the early twenties he was painting pictures of Ziegfeld Folies girls.  Always interested in the technical side of printing, to ensure the most faithful reproductions of his paintings possible, he went to study calendar production at famous calendar publisher Brown & Bigelow and by 1927 was their best selling calendar artist.  

Armstrong produced two versions of the picture, including this rather looser pastel which sold for $17,000 in 2005.  Artists producing calendars at this time were usually allowed one nude per twelve months and this sleek image of a waterside girl is obviously Armstrong's offering for that year.

Rolf Armstrong and model

Always working from models, he also painted portraits of many top Hollywood stars in the twenties and thirties and his cover paintings for Pictorial Review and Photoplay were considered instrumental in boosting the magazines' circulations..  To get the best possible light he often painted his subjects outside. 

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