In the Spotlight by Edward D’Ancona
This is a recently discovered and rare surviving published pin-up calendar painting by the prolific illustrator Edward D’Ancona. This was originally published with the title “In the Spotlight” by The Louis F. Dow Calendar Company of St. Paul, Minnesota.
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 its original pine frame that has been lovingly re-oiled.
In this painting, a strawberry blonde, Veronica Lake look-a-like torch singer croons out a smoldering song in front of a RCA ribbon microphone as she no doubts enthralls her audience. Whether it be the patrons of a smoky jazz nightclub or the eager, young GI’s on a USO tour stop, this blue-eyed serenader clearly knows how to keep all eyes on her.
About the artist: Edward D’Ancona
Although D’Ancona was a prolific pin-up artist who produced hundreds of enjoyable images, relatively little is known about his background.
Edward D’Ancona sometimes signed his paintings with the name “D’Amarie”, but his real name appears on numerous calendar prints published from the mid 1930s through the mid 1950s, and perhaps as late as 1960.
The first company to publish D’Ancona pinups, about 1935 to 1937, was Louis F. Dow in St Paul. D’Ancona worked in oil on canvas and his originals from that time usually measured about 30 x 22 inches. His early work is comparable in quality to that of the young Gil Elvgren, who had begun to work for Dow in 1937. Because D’Ancona produced so much work for Dow, one might assume that he was born in Minnesota and lived and worked in the St Paul, Minneapolis area. It is known that he supplied illustrations to the Goes Company in Cincinnati and to several soft-drink firms, which capitalized on his works similarity to the Sundblom/Elvgren style, which was so identified with Coca-Cola.
During the 1940s and 1950s, D’Ancona superb use of primary colours, masterful brushstrokes, and painterly style elevated him to the ranks of the very best artist in pin-up and pin-up art. His subject matter at this time resembled Elvgren’s. Both enjoyed painting nudes and both employed situation poses a great deal. D’Ancona also painted a fair amount of evening-gown scenes, as did Elvgren, Art Frahm and Erbit.
By 1960, D’Ancona had moved into the calendar art field. Instead of doing pinups and glamour images, however, he specialized in pictures on the theme of safety in which wholesome policemen helped children across the street in suburban settings that came straight out of Norman Rockwell.
Edward D’Ancona biography borrowed from The Great American Pin-Up by Charles G Martignette & Louis K Meisel.