Modern Venus by Al Moore
This is a recently discovered and rare surviving published pin-up calendar painting by the prolific illustrator Al Moore. This was published with the titles “Modern Venus” and “Hold Tight” by The Louis F. Dow Calendar Company of St. Paul, MN; part of their 1954 calendar line.
Grapefruit Moon Gallery just unearthed a collection of new-to-the-market pin-up paintings that had previously been in a house in Saint Louis Park, MN since the 1970s! This painting has been recently cleaned and is in pristine condition in the original oak frame that has been lovingly re-oiled.
In this provocative “oops” scene a voluptuous blonde finds herself holding tight to a skimpy scrap of a blue colored scarf.
This is surely one of the nicer examples of American pin-up art that we have had on offer.
About the artist: Al Moore
Al Moore’s breakthrough assignment was being chosen by Esquire to replace Alberto Vargas, the most popular pin-up artist of the day.
Born in Illinois, AI Moore played college football at Northwestern University and professional football with the Chicago Bears. After attending classes at Chicago’s Art Institute and Academy of Art, he opened a commercial art studio in New York in the late 1930s. By the mid 1940s, his clients included major companies like Galey and Lord, Beauty Counselors, the Viscole Corporation and Champion Spark Flags.
During the war years, Moore painted posters for the government and also took on assignments from Gold cigarettes, Cosmopolitan, The Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s.
Advertising work for U.S. Rubber, Nash automobiles, and Coca-Cola led, in 1946, to Moore’s breakthrough assignment – he was chosen by Esquire to replace Alberto Vargas, the most popular pin-up artist of the day. Among Moore’s triumphs at the magazine were his creation of the Esquire Girl, his answer to the Varga Girl; the 1948 Esquire calendar (with Ben-Hur Baz and others); front covers in 1948 and 1949; and the rare honor of painting the entire 1949 and 1950 calendars himself. By 1950, his two-page gatefolds in Esquire were collected by millions of Americans.
Moore contributed four pinups and a centerfold print to Brown & Bigelow’s Ballyhoo Calendar for 1953, which was as huge a success as the work of Gil Elvgren for the previous year’s calendar. In the 1950s, his corporate clients included contemporary Munsingwear, Hertz Rent-a-Car, and the McGregor Corporation. During the same years, his illustrations appeared in American Magazine, Woman’s Home Companion, McCall’s, and Woman’s Day, and he painted several front covers for The Saturday Evening Post. As an active member of the Society of Illustrators, Moore was asked to paint the poster for the society’s 1959 exhibition; it was such a success that both Pan American Airlines and Germaine Monteil Perfume also commissioned posters for their national marketing campaigns.
When photographs started to replace artwork in magazines and advertising, Moore decided to retire and pursue fine-art painting, including portrait commissions, Shortly after he moved to Crawford, Colorado, he accepted a commission from the United States Olympic Committee for three paintings for their world headquarters that would call attention to the problem of illegal steroid use by athletes.
Al Moore biography borrowed from The Great American Pin-Up by Charles G Martignette & Louis K Meisel.