One of the finest pastel pin-up illustrations ever created by Rolf Armstrong for the Brown & Bigelow Calendar Company, this appeared in 1940 with the title “The B & B Girl”. The model was Margery Crampton, Armstrong’s modernist streamlined muse and frequent sitter throughout the 1930s and early 1940s. Shortly after this pastel was created, the artist started working with Jewel Flowers creating altogether more wholesome yet wildly popular pin-up images, the first of which premiered in 1941 under the title How Am I Doing?. Titling this work The B&B Girl speaks volumes about the calendar company’s respect for Armstrong–they were literally using his work as their signature–and the ubiquity of Brown & Bigelow in the lives of Americans. That everyone would want a peek at The B & B Girl was self-evident. This is an extraordinary and grand work, featured on page 105 in the newly released Taschen history of pin up illustration, The Art of Pin-Up as a full page color plate.
After its creation in 1940, this pastel remained in Armstrong’s possession until he gifted the work to a Dr. Louis in 1958, who was a close friend of both Armstrong and Jewel Flowers. At that time, the pastel was inscribed by Armstrong with a personal dedication lower right. A number of photographs featuring Jewel Flowers, and Lewis are included with the sale. The pastel is in a fine state of conservation, a large format published 1941 calendar is included in the sale. By all accounts just a defining example, handsomely silk matted and gallery framed behind UV glass and ready to enjoy.