The Downstairs Maid

Artist:Edward D'Ancona
Medium:Oil on Illustration Board
Dimensions:Sight Size 22" x 30" Framed 27" x 35"
Original Use:Commissioned Art for The Louis F. Dow Calendar Company
Price:S O L D
Above: Full view of oil painting
Above: The artist's signature
Above: Detail

A fresh to the market (and fresh in subject matter) 1940s original pin up painting by Edward D'Ancona, created for the Louis F. Dow Calendar Company. Titled "Downstairs Maid" this is really a spirited rendering with an overtly erotic theme. For those of you keeping score, this commissioned cheesecake "Americana gone wrong" genre of pin up art is white hot currently. This is by all accounts a defining example. This published illustration painting is in a very fine state of conservation, nicely matted and framed and ready to hang in your gallery, library, or home.

Above: Framed and matted in fine gold gallery frame
Above: Verso view with title and notations

A bio with help from The Pin-up Files:

Although D'Ancona was a prolific pin up artist who produced hundreds of enjoyable images, almost nothing is known about his background. He sometimes signed his paintings with the name "D'Amarie", but his real name appears on numerous calendar prints published from the mid 1930s through the mid 1950s, and perhaps as late as 1960.
The first company to publish D'Ancona pin-ups, about 1935 to 1937, was Louis F. Dow in St Paul. D'Ancona worked in oil on canvas and his originals from that time usually measured about 30 x 22 inches. His early work is comparable in quality to that of the young Gil Elvgren, who had begun to work for Dow in 1937. Because D'Ancona produced so much work for Dow, one might assume that he was born in Minnesota and lived and worked in the St Paul, Minneapolis area. It is known that he supplied illustrations to the Goes Company in Cincinnati and to several soft-drink firms, which capitalized on his works similarity to the Sundblom/Elvgren style, which was so identified with Coca-Cola.

During the 1940s and 1950s, D'Ancona superb use of primary colors, masterful brushstrokes, and painterly style elevated him to the ranks of the very best artist in pin-up and glamour art. His subject matter at this time resembled Elvgren's. Both enjoyed painting nudes and both employed situation poses a great deal. D'Ancona also painted a fair amount of evening-gown scenes, as did Elvgren, Frahm and Erbit.

By 1960, D'Ancona had moved into the calendar art field. Instead of doing pin-ups and glamour images, however, he specialized in pictures on the theme of safety in which wholesome policemen helped children across the street in suburban settings that came straight out of Norman Rockwell.


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