"Listen here James, we’re lucky we made it—she earned it!"
May 23, 2013 3:06 AM   Subscribe

The female artists who shaped the American Dream Girl (mildly NSFW) "...according to pin-up art expert Louis K. Meisel, three of the most talented pin-up painters from the Golden Age, roughly the 1920s to the early 1960s, were women. “Pearl Frush, Joyce Ballantyne, and Zoë Mozert were terrific, as good as any of the men—in fact, better than many of them,” Meisel says." A fascinating look at three very interesting women and their work in an area of art that is overwhelmingly known for its male artists. posted by halcyonday (13 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Great article.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:16 AM on May 23, 2013

Interesting! Never knew who painted the Coppertone baby. Or who modeled.
posted by jfuller at 6:17 AM on May 23, 2013

Very cool! I met a former Disney artist years ago in south Florida; wished I'd followed up with her & her co workers to learn more. :(
posted by tilde at 6:24 AM on May 23, 2013

This is terrific stuff, and sadly unsurprising. Thanks for posting.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:35 AM on May 23, 2013

That was a great article. Thanks for posting.
posted by jillithd at 7:04 AM on May 23, 2013

"It’s a shame nobody wanted to hang up pictures of beautiful men in their garages" -- Oh?
posted by Mooseli at 7:53 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

What a great story. I find this sweet eroticism appealing, particularly the way the pretty girls smile in the pictures. I'm on the other team though, so I did appreciate the one male pinup even if it was intended as an April Fool's joke.
posted by Nelson at 8:18 AM on May 23, 2013

Very interesting...my grandmother was an incredibly talented watercolorist in her youth, and was about to go to college (University of Miami, I think?) on an art scholarship when WWII happened and they turned the school into something military-related (I might have my facts a bit foggy, but it was something like that...anyway, she wasn't able to attend for art, and went to nursing school instead). She never pursued it again after that, as she was consistently told by men that it would be too difficult for her. I think that this is a big regret in her life.

On a tangent to that, my grandparents always told me that they knew the man who had created the Coppertone baby ad. This was in Miami. I wonder whether I got it wrong, and they actually knew Joyce Ballantyne, or whether some dude was running around in Miami lying to everyone about having created it.
posted by SixteenTons at 9:28 AM on May 23, 2013

A couple of good excerpts:

Soon her whole family, her mom, her dad, her brother, and her sister, changed their last name to Mozert. When Zoe got a gig painting cosmetics ads, her brother Bruce and sister Marcia would pose as a besotted couple, and the three would be written up as “The Royal Family of Art,” given that they descended from Robert the Bruce of Scotland. Her brother was also her favorite lip model, for images of women.

And Mozert did, in fact, pose for many of these pin-up paintings herself. According to Phillips, she would position her camera and adjust the lights using a large mirror, change into something skimpy, and have her assistant Sunny Johnson take the snapshot. While Mozert often painted her own body, Sunny would typically pose for the faces. “While walking down a street in St. Paul one day, I noticed a soldier eyeing me up and down,” Mozert told Phillips. “‘The face isn’t familiar,’ he was murmuring to himself, ‘but that body…’”
posted by Michele in California at 11:07 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Great article. I thought I knew something about the subject, but it was less than I thought.
posted by bongo_x at 12:08 PM on May 23, 2013

What a great read. Thanks so much for this post!

Pearl Frush's work is just beautiful.
posted by rachaelfaith at 7:44 PM on May 23, 2013

Great stuff. All these pinup artists had serious skills. Thanks for the post.
posted by meta87 at 11:10 PM on May 23, 2013

Oh my, this is so very wonderful. Enthusiastically shared with many exclamation marks with the pinup collector I call my spouse.
posted by desuetude at 11:23 PM on May 23, 2013

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