We are able to offer this wonderful painting yet again because our buyer was unable to pay for the artwork, despite a purchase agreement. His loss has been our gain, as we have been enjoying having the artwork hanging in our home in the interim. This is a rare surviving commissioned calendar art pin-up painting by Al Buell titled on verso A Perfect Pair. From a series of paintings Buell did for Brown & Bigelow as The Playmate Series. This was for the month of October and dates to the late 1940s. Buell worked with Gil Elvgren in the Sundblom studios in Chicago and his accounts included Coca-Cola. His oils are among the best in the genre, they capture the pretty girl next door (albeit generally under-dressed) and have a wholesomeness rare for the pin-up. We sold this painting in 2007 to a customer who purchased several large works from us recently and we were happy to take this back in trade and offer it again for sale as it remains the nicest Buell we have come across. In recent years, pin-up art as a whole and Al Buell works in particular have enjoyed a rapid increase in valuation, with prices for the artist recently topping $20,000.00 at a well advertised national auction.
Often his pin-ups have solid black backgrounds, a la Walt Otto; in other cases, he creates full settings, particularly in the pseudonymous paintings (signed “Al Leslie”) he did when moonlighting from Brown & Bigelow at lesser companies. In these paintings Buell strayed into the area of embarrassed coy cuties, often accompanied by cute puppies who inadvertently caused skirts to be raised.