One thing never changes: People like to look to the past. They long for old movies, fashions and music. It’s no different with art, including pin-up art: Retro pin-up is now in great demand by today’s art collectors. Perhaps it’s the combination of innocence and sultriness embodied in the work of the greatest retro pin-up artists. But retro pin-ups have never been worth more. That’s why when collecting these vintages pieces of art, it’s important for new collectors to know exactly what they should be looking for. The quality of artist, of course, is the biggest factor in determining the worth of a retro pin-up poster. Certain artists just carry more weight in this field.
Harry G. Peter, for instance, is a favorite among fans of retro pin-up. Peter was one of the most famous illustrators of the popular Gibson Girls pin-ups. Peter was also a main artist on the early Wonder Woman comics. Peter’s Gibson Girl work paved the way for the famous pin-up artists that followed. They all retained at least a bit of Peter’s influential style in their own work, most notably his ability to suggest a hint of naughtiness in women who otherwise embodied nothing but innocence. Another famous retro pin-up poster artist is the talented Alberto Vargas. He may even be rightfully considered the genre’s most influential artist of all time. Vargas’ watercolor and airbrush creations gained most of their fame during the years of World War II. It was during this time that he created a series of extremely valuable and well-regarded pin-up portraits for Esquire magazine. More famously, pilots in World War II often flew fighter planes whose nose cones sported Vargas pin-up girls.
Vargas’ equal might have been George Petty. This artist is famous for his signature creation, the Petty Girl. Petty worked from the 1930s through much of the 1950s, and his Petty Girls, always provocatively posed, donned not only pin-up posters but calendars, billboards and advertisements. Even the biggest companies commissioned Petty Girls for their advertisements. These firms included Pepsi Cola, MGM Motion Pictures and Time Magazine.
One more master of which collectors of retro pin-up posters should be aware is Enoch Bolles. This artist made his name by drawing risqué art of flapper girls. He employed a unique Art Deco story to his work. He was also famous for the creative way he included props – everything from brooms to table lamps – in his work. Collectors of retro pin-up have a wide variety of artists to choose from when beginning their collection. Peter, Vargas, Petty and Bolles, though, represent a good starting point for any novice collector.