From the mid 1930’s through to the 70’s Elvgreen produced more than 500 outstanding paintings of pin-up girls and beautiful women. It is safe to say that Elvgreen was the best pin-up artist the world has ever known and the most influential to all future artists.
Most of his artwork was used for commercial success of companies such as Brown & Bigelow and Coca-cola but many private collectors, dealers and museums would recognize it as real art. Usually using oil for his paintings, he was able to capture feminine beauty with incredible detail. His technique was first taking a photo of his subject and than recreating it on canvas. Many of his paintings based off his photos have slight modifications for more appeal. In many of his paintings based of original photos, he will often change small details – the model will sometimes have more skin showing, or be placed in a more effective position, as well as adding different props and detail to the background. By using the technique of taking a photo beforehand, he is able to capture a woman as a woman would act instead of leaving it completely to his imagination and knowledge. This way it gives a more accurate approach to how a woman should be portrayed. The reproducing of the photographs is also very interesting to look at and compare – it really unquestionably shows his talent and ability to capture the essence of his subjects. He mastered the pin up style, creating paintings that were classy and never too provocative. He mastered sustaining the innocence and elegance within his paintings without going overboard.
The probable reason for his success is not only the artistic talent within his paintings but his vision of what America and America would deem as perfection. His paintings portrayed the American dream, a comfortable happy lifestyle, making them largely popular, especially with commercial industries. Making him largely popular within the commercial world. Elvgreen has become widely respected in the art world and pin-up world, influencing numerous illustrators and photorealism painter John Kacere.
Elvgreen left quite the mark on commercial advertisements and pin up artwork. His pieces can easily be identified, having a very personified style. Unfortunately Elvgreen died in February 1980, but his work will continue making appearances through the commercial and art world, as well as continue to influence artists and will live on forever.
– Paola Pasqualini