A rare surviving 1940s calendar published pin-up oil painting by the prolific Chicago area female illustrator Ruth Deckard, which appeared with the title of Danger. Making a classic “ooh” face, a luscious blonde sits on a sawhorse pulling a nail from her shoe at a construction site, a classic situational pin-up leg show scene. The word “danger”, painted in red on the beam behind her seems to reference both the construction site and the femme fatale herself. These sort of noir-inspired scenes evoked Hollywood film stars such as Veronica Lake and Rita Hayworth, who brought a dangerous sophistication to the pin-up ideal. The artist typically signed her pin-ups with the lone word Deckard, as is seen here in the lower right corner, which allowed viewers to assume this was the work of a male illustrator.
Ruth Deckard was an American pinup artist, known only as Deckard for many years and thought to be a man. It wasn’t until The Great American Pin-up was published in 1996 that the world knew she was a woman. She was a Chicago-based artist. Most of her paintings were published by Louis F. Dow Co. of St. Paul, Minnesota. She painted from the mid-1930s into the 1950s. Her art was not as refined as Alberto Vargas or Petty, but it had a great appeal to the masses. One of her most popular images was a painting previously sold at Grapefruit Moon Gallery, titled Pin Cushion, with a woman lying on her back with a white top and skirt, her legs draped over the top of a round cushion, and four bowling pins leaned against the cushion.