domenica 6 marzo 2011

Earl Moran

About Earl Moran:
Earl Steffa Moran was born in Belle Plaine, Iowa, in December 1893. Like many of his contempories Moran studied at the Chicago Art Institute, while at the same time working for a large engraving house which specialized in men's fashion illustrations. Moran studied in Chicago for two years before moving on to Manhattan where he
enrolled at the Art Students League. In 1931 he moved back to Chicago and opened a small studio, specializing in photography and illustration. In 1932 he signed an exclusive contract with Brown and Bigelow and produced his first, and perhaps best known, pin-up for the company: "Golden Hours" in 1933. This pin-up proved so popular
that it was used to market a variety of products, including a huge 5 pound box of chocolates. Earl Moran became one of America's best known pin-up artists after LIFE magazine ran an article on him in 1940, he was also well
known as a cover artist , along with Peter Driben etc., for Robert Harrison, and indeed painted the cover for Harrisons first issue of Beauty Parade. The early forties where also a time of some hardship for Moran, following his bitter divorce from his wife, Mura. After the divorce had been settled he moved to Hollywood and commenced painting film stars along with his calendar work for Brown and Bigelow.
Although Earl Moran utilized a variety of mediums, e.g. oil on canvas in the 40's and oil on canvas board in the50's, he most commonly worked in pastels. His work can often be recognized by his heavy use of light and shadow. Earl Moran continued to paint for Brown and Bigelow well into the late fifties before deciding to retire to
paint fine art subjects. He signed with Aaron Brothers Galleries and continued to paint for collectors until 1982 when his eyesight started to fail. Earl Moran died on the 17th of January in 1984, in Santa Monica, CA.


Zoe Mozert was born Alice Adelaide Moser on April 27, 1907 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Her father was Fred William Moser, a mechanical engineer of German ancestry. The family name had orignally been Motzar, but that was changed to Moser when her grandfather emigrated to America. Her mother was Jessie Mable Hatfield of Ohio. Her parents married in 1906 and she was their first child.
By 1910 the father was hired to work as a skilled pattern-maker at a metal foundry in Beaver Dam City, Wisconsin, where the family lived at 105 Walnut Street. By 1914 the family had moved to Newark, Ohio, where the father was able to found the Moser Pattern & Foundry Co. The family lived at 108 Linden Avenue, where sister Helen was born in 1915 and brother Bruce was born in 1916. Bruce grew up to be a renowned innovator of underwater photography techniques. In 1916 her father's company merged with the Newark Stamping & Foundry Co., which made hose clamps for the growing automotive industry, and he became the Vice President. In 1917 the family moved to 213 Hoover Road in Newark, Ohio.
In 1921 the family moved to Roaring Brook Township , which is five miles Southeast of Scranton, PA, where her father had been appointed Superintendent of Scranton Stove Works after having invented and patented a new design for a cast-iron stove vent. During her teenage years, with growing prosperity, her family could afford to send her to a prestigious private girl's boarding school in Waynesboro, Virginia, called Fairfax Hall.
By 1924 she had completed high school and returned to live with her family near Scranton, PA. She began to study art lessons at the LaFrance Art School, which was a trade school established by a benevolent industrialist, Bernard Davis, who ran the LaFrance Tapestry Mill Company. Another young art student who also attended classes at the same time was John W. Scott. He went on to become a pulp artist and a slick illustrator.
From 1925 to 1928 she studied at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art, where she took advanced classes with Thorton Oakley in 1927 and 1928. The future pulp artist, H. J. Ward, was also a student in that same class. She paid for her tuition by modeling at the school. She most likely also posed for H. J. Ward, several of whose paintings from this time period portray a woman with strikingly similar features. She began her career as an artist in 1927, while working for the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. She soon began her own window display business.
In 1932 she moved to New York City to look for entry-level freelance work in the magazine industry. Her first illustration jobs were for Bernarr Macfadden's True Story. At this time she adopted a professional name, "Zoe Mozert." According to the artist, "I looked through a name dictionary for a new first name and when there were finally no pages left I settled on Zoe."
In 1933 she won a scholarship in a talent contest to study at the Art Students League.
From 1934 to 1937 she created many sensual and glamourous covers for pulp magazines, such asSmart Love Stories, Love Revels, and Night Life Tales. Fawcett Publications hired her to work full time as a staff artist on True Confessions, but at the same time she also worked in her free time as a freelance artist. In this way her work appeared in a wide range of glamour magazines, such asAmerican Weekly, Romantic Movie Stories, Romantic Stories, and Screen Stories.
She was soon a prosperous and busy illustrator, who had grown beyond the low-paying pulp magazine industry. On Janury 9th 1937 she rented a nicer apartment at 29 West 12th Street in the fashionably artistic Greenwich Village section of Manhattan. By 1937 her unique style of illustration was so central to the ideal of Hollywood glamour that she was hired by Paramount Pictures to create the movie poster for the film,True Confession, starring Carole Lombard.
She also illustrated advertisements for such products as Dr. Pepper, Kool Cigarettes, Irresistible Beauty Aids, Mentolatum, and Raleigh Cigarettes. Many of these advertisements featured her distinctive pastel portraits of famous movie stars as product endorsements.
On February 19, 1940 she sailed on the Steam Ship Argentine to Buenos Aires. Her passport identified her legal name as Alice Adelaide Moser.
From 1941 she signed an exclusive fifteen-year contract as a top Pin-Up calendar artist for Brown & Bigelow. In 1945 she moved to California and she legally changed her name to Mozert. Her parents, her brother, and her sister also had their family name legally changed to Mozert.
She also worked as an art adviser and painter with Warner Brothers in Hollywood. She created many artworks that were used as props within films, such as Never Say Goodbye starring Errol Flynn, and Calendar Girl starring Patricia O'Neil. She also painted the controversial movie poster of Jane Russell for the classic Howard Hughes film,The Outlaw.
In 1978 she retired to Sedona, Arizona, where she lived outside of town on Schnebly Hill Road, She continued to create pastel drawings and portaits, which were sold in fine art galleries.
Her father lived to be ninety-two and her mother lived to be one-hundred-and three. Zoe Mozert finally moved to a county facility in Flagstaff, AZ, where she died at the age of eighty-five on February 1, 1993.
© David Saunders

sabato 5 marzo 2011

Gil Elvgren

Highly regarded as the greatest pin up artist of all time, the work of Gil Elvgren has continued to inspire artists and individuals alike since the first time he laid brush to canvas. With his superiority confirmed through the sheer prolificacy of his work, Elvgren’s iconic paintings of pin up girls served to redefine the role of beauty in America, while setting artistic standards for quality and taste.
Born and raised in the town of St. Paul, Minneapolis, Gillette Elvgren was initially drawn to the world of architecture as a youth, his parents nurturing their sons artistic abilities after noticing his knack for illustration. In addition to courses at the University of Minnesota for architecture and design, Elvgren also occupied his time with classes at the Art Institute of Minneapolis. It was in the summer of 1933 that Gil realized a career in the arts would be more fulfilling than one creating buildings and structures.
Marrying his high school sweetheart in the fall of 1933, the couple moved to Chicago to allow Elvgren to immerse himself in the art world there. Already talented before entering the American Academy of Art, Elvgren thrived in the creative environment, simply outworking his peers through his determination to succeed. Working under the watchful eye of fellow artist and teacher Bill Mosby, Elvgren excelled with an unwavering dedication to his craft,
“So many of the students come here without a clearly defined idea of what they want to do. Gil, from the very first, knew exactly what he wanted. He wanted to be a good painter more than anything else. Into two years he packed three and a half years of work. He had classes during the day; he went to night classes and classes during the summer. In the off-hours and on weekends he painted.
He was a good student and worked harder than anyone I have ever seen. He took every course that could teach him anything about painting. We tried to tell him that it was not good to put all his eggs in one basket and that he should take some of the courses in advertising layout and lettering that would give him a more flexible background for commercial work. He admitted that there was logic in this and appreciated the interest in his welfare, but persistently refused to have anything to do with [those subjects]. In the two years, his progress was phenomenal. Without question he turned out to be one of the most successful of our alumni.”
Still without a single commissioned work, Gil pushed forward off the promise of his potential. Moving back to Minneapolis in 1936, Gil opened his first studio, and soon after received his first commissioned work, a painting of a stylish man for a fashion catalogue. Upon seeing the piece, the company’s president was so impressed he ordered another half dozen catalogue covers.
Steadily improving with each piece, Elvgren’s talents soon caught the attention of Brown & Brothers, the world’s most well known calendar company. His relationship with the firm would serve as one of the defining partnerships of Elvgren’s career.
Another relationship that proved fruitful for the young artist came when he was introduced to fellow artist Haddon H. Sundblom, (1899-1976) whose friendship would lead Elvgren to even greater commercial success. Through Sundblom, Elvgren took on advertising work with big brands such as General Electric and Coca Cola, the latter partnership proving substantial for many reasons. Leading to twenty five years of advertising work with the company, Elvgren’s images unified Coca Cola with the American dream, creating inspired imagery that spoke to the aspirations of his audience.
In many ways, Elvgren’s pin ups came to define the image of feminine beauty for the time. Although rarely straying from Caucasian women, “Elvgren’s Girls” as they were called, maintained a vivacious demeanor that was related through the images. Relying on his family to come up with concepts and situations for his paintings, Gil’s best ideas often times came from conversations over dinner with his wife and kids.
With a growing resume and greater commercial success, Elvgren’s schedule was always occupied, as art directors were accustomed to waiting up to a year to work with the budding artist. Commissioned to do works for numerous brands and magazines, the quality of Elvgren’s work continued to improve as his technique came to define his signature style.
Expertly planning each shoot, Elvgren’s creative process involved precise steps that led to a finished product. Starting with an idea, he would then develop a situation. Finding an appropriate model next, Elvgren would select the wardrobe and props to situate in a fitting background. Once the concept was created, he would photograph the model to later paint. By creating his own distinctive aesthetic, Elvgren’s work stood apart from his contemporaries through the natural essence of his images. Forming a union between space, setting, color and character, Elvgren’s girls maintained an endearing quality that celebrated femininity with a touch of elegance.
As an artist and a friend, Elvgren’s commitment to artistry inspired countless artists within the genre of pin up art and beyond. Creating his most exceptional works towards the end of his career, Gil’s pin ups grew in quality and sophistication, reaching a high level of comfort and confidence in his own artistic abilities.
In an age where often times more has become less, Gil’s pin ups provide a refreshing contrast to the often times exploitive nature of pin up photography today. Gil’s work proves that beauty lies in the imagination of the viewer, as his work alludes to an almost dream like image of feminine beauty. As iconic relics of the past, the pin up girl will continue to mirror societies ever evolving perception of beauty and femininity. Much to the credit of Gil Elvgren, who will undoubtedly be known as one of America’s greatest illustrators.

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