A large and early commissioned pin up painting by Gil Elvgren for the Brown & Bigelow Calendar Company titled “Finders Keepers.” This 1945 oil on canvas was painted in a larger format than Elvgren standardly used, and this is by all accounts a desirable and classic example of the Great American Pin-up by the undisputed master, featuring bold bright colors, and a wholesome yet sexy appeal. The canvas is relined and this painting was previously sold by The American Illustrators Gallery in New York.
Gillette A. Elvgren was born in 1914, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He started at the Minnesota Art Institute studying architecture but soon realized that he loved painting more, for this reason he moved to Chicago with his young wife to study at the American Academy of Art. After graduation he found work at Stevens and Gross, a prestigious advertising agency, working under Haddon Sundblom (famous for his Coca Cola Santas).
Elvgren started producing pin-up girls in 1937 for the publishing company Louis F. Dow, however in 1944 he moved to Brown and Bigelow who offered $1000 per pin up, substantially more than he was getting at Dow. His contract specified between 18 and 20 pin ups per year, and only for Brown and Bigelow. However Elvgren soon branched out into other forms of commercial art, amongst them advertisments for Coca Cola, Ovaltine and others.