This delicately rendered, original, signed Pearl Frush pin-up illustration was published by the Gerlach-Barklow Calendar Company under the title “Miss Bermuda.” The nearly photo-realist watercolor appeared as part of a 1947 “Aqua Tour” series of bathing beauty images. Pearl Frush was a prolific and talented female artist who was active during the 1940s and 50s and worked primarily out of Chicago. “Miss Bermuda” is pictured in Taschen’s 1996 volume The Great American Pin-Up by Louis Meisel and Charles Martignette (plate #445 page 195). The painting was owned by the pair of authors and was previously sold at Manhattan’s Louis K. Meisel gallery. Verso bears print specific printers notations which indicate it appeared in March and also a Louis K. Meisel gallery label.
Nicely matted and framed, the artwork is accompanied by two vintage ink blotters. The blurb which accompanied the published painting captured our heart as gallery owners in Minneapolis, Minnesota; it reads as follows – “The Gulf Stream is credited with giving Bermuda its famous climate, warm and sunny all year round. But we’ll take credit for sending you Miss Bermuda as a pleasant relief from blustery March winds. Few of us can travel as much as we’d like – but theres one luxury that’s always available. We mean good old fashioned dependability from your dealer. May We serve you?”
A companion painting of “Miss Gulf Coast,” shown below, from this same series by Pearl Frush “Miss Nassau” was sold at auction 2/18/2010 for $35,850.00, showing how in demand pin-up images by the artist are.
Pearl Frush was one the twentieth century’s leading female pin-up illustrators and she worked steadily with many of the USA’s premiere calendar companies. She was adept at creating life-like illustrations using pastel, gouache, and watercolors.
Born in Iowa, she initially enrolled in art classes in New Orleans, with further training in Philadelphia and New York, before eventually studying at the Chicago Art Institute under Charles Schroeder. Her first studio was opened in the early 40s, at a time when Vargas was only just reaching the masses through Esquire. The attention to detail on Frush’s artwork was often much more intricate than that of similar artists, lending an almost photo-realist quality to some of her work.
By the 50s, she was one of the top female pin-up artists and, as often seems to be the case when an artist excelled during this period, she came to the attention of Brown & Bigelow. During her time working for them she created a hanger calendar for release in 1956.