This dazzling pin-up portrait of a fashionable chic femme-fatale by Billy Devorss showcases a red-lipped heavy lidded brunette with sophisticated and erotic styling. As typical of the artist, the subject is shown dressed to the nines and adorned with an extra touch of femininity as seen in the line of flowers running down her low cut lace top. We believe this to be a commissioned pin-up for one of the many calendar companies Devorss worked with, but we do not have a tear sheet at this time.
Unlike most of the pin-up artists working in the genre, Devorss never signed an exclusive contract with any of the calendar companies, and instead enjoyed incredible popularity as an in-demand freelancer. Devorss, originally from Saint Joseph Missouri, maintained a New York City Studio in the Beaux Arts building in midtown during the 1930s – 40s, and many of his pin-up images seem to have been inspired by the city’s art deco design, and the fashionable big city sophisticates he encountered while out in Manhattan.
Devorss began his career shortly after receiving formal instruction at Kansas City Art Institute, graduating in 1934. Quickly getting the attention of Brown & Bigelow, the artist moved to New York City with his wife Glenna and began traveling in the smart set. Shrewdly, Devorss signed with the American Artists Agency upon moving to NY, and through them was able to contract to work for all the calendar companies, a move which enabled his high-style quality of life even as the country struggled through the 1930s. Working steadily from 1934 until the mid-1950s, Devorss made a name for himself as an heir and competitor to Rolf Armstrong, uniquely in touch with the cosmopolitan attitude of the city. In 1951, the artist and his wife returned to St. Joseph, where he enjoyed a life of leisure until his death in 1985.