Review: Gil Elvgren All His Glamorous American Pin-Ups

Gil ElvgrenGil Elvgren: All His Glamorous American Pin-Ups

Gil Elvgren: All His Glamorous American Pin-Ups is a 240 paged 9x12in hardcover book that documents some of the best in pin-up illustrations from the twentieth century. I actually picked up this book not being too familiar with Gil Elvgren himself but just interested in getting an illustration book of pin-ups. I’m really glad I did because not only was Gil Elvgren on the forefront of the pin-up & advertising illustrations period but his work within it was exceptional and he is without a doubt one of the masters of the American Pin-Up era. The book includes a 33 page essay by Charles G. Martignette about Elvgren that is very well written and gives a lot of context to era and other artists at the time. As for the artwork featured in this book it includes his illustrations of pin-ups and mostly does not include any of his photography or advertisement work that didn’t contain pin-ups besides a few. There are a total of 534 illustrations featured in this book, each including the name and date of each piece. While it certainly leaves nothing out I would have preferred that the book was organized differently. Though it still beautifully styled and easy to see each illustration it suffers from being very overcrowded and often having too much going on the in places. I much prefer the pages that feature a solid white background over the ones they choose to add color blocking to. However over all I understand the want to show and feature all his work so it’s easy to overlook the design choices. I honestly love this book and haven’t even given it enough time because there is simply just so much to see. Even though I was not familiar with him prior to buying the book, I was definitely familiar with his work just from seeing it in passing and I’m sure most people recognize classic pin-ups of his so it is a great book if you are interested in pin-up illustrations. I am much happier with this book that I think I would have been buying a pin-up genre book instead. Most genre type books are far too plenty so it’s hard to find one that is of good quality and I think this book even though it only of one artist of the period it really encapsulates what it was all about. I highly recommended if like me you are just dipping your toes into pin-up artwork or a hard-core fan, and if you want to have a sneak peak there is a look below.

a closer look at the book:

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