This is a C.1940 pastel illustration created by Hungarian artist and illustrator Jules Erbit for the Brown & Bigelow Calendar Company. Titled, “Betty”, this is a glamorous pin-up offering of a pretty blue-eyed girl with flushed, rosy cheeks and inviting red lips.
Erbit was a prolific illustrator who worked for seemingly all of the major calendar companies of the day. He offered typically wholesome, pretty, and pert pin-up girls which were influential in creating the American ideal of feminine beauty and glamour girl allure.
This pastel is housed in its original frame, silk matted, under glass, and ready to display.
This pastel comes from the collection of esteemed illustration art collector Norman Platnick.
About the artist: Jules Erbit
Little is known about Jules Erbit, but this master of pastels was one of the most prolific pin- up artists from the 1930s into the 1950s. His lovely women grace calendars, posters and prints, published by C. Moss, Brown & Bigelow, and others.
Bathing-suit beauties are rare among the works of Erbit, who specialized in more sedate, but nonetheless sensual images. Erbit typifies the glamour approach a characteristic Erbit pin-up features a lovely woman in a gown leaning against the rail of a ship, or lounging in a garden. It’s a soft-focus, flowers-in-the-hair world.
The artist’s Masterful use of pastels for his radiant beauties puts him securely in the camp Rolf Armstrong followers; but, unlike Billy De Vorss, Erbit has his own immediately distinctive style. Where Erbit most resembles Armstrong is in the size of the (few known surviving) originals massive works, they typically measure 14″ by 31″.
The Legacy of Norman Platnick
In his New York Times obituary, Norman Platnick’s son Will said that his father had three passions in life, his wife Nancy, spiders, and collecting.
Few individuals have the chance to leave a mark like Norm’s in even one field, let alone two. But Norm managed to be both a celebrated scientist, and one of the most influential lay historians of illustration art.
Under his imprint Enchantment Ink, Norm researched, wrote, and published collectors guides to artists like Rolf Armstrong and Earl Christy. We at Grapefruit Moon Gallery rely on these books in our work, and they are now all freely available as PDFs through the Enchantment Ink website.
Norm’s expertise was a gift, his friendship was a treasure, and his legacy is immeasurable. He is missed.