Gil Elvgren is considered to be the greatest American pin-up and glamour artist. The majority of his work was done for the famed Brown & Bigelow, though at various points in his career, he also worked for magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post and Good Housekeeping, and large corporations including Sealy Mattresses, General Electric and Coca-Cola.
Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Elvgren began his artistic education at the Minneapolis Art Institute, and later the American Academy of Art. His first job upon graduation was at the Chicago advertising firm of Stevens and Gross, working directly under Haddon Sundblom, famous for his Coca-Cola Santas. Elvgren would soon become his star pupil, contributing much to the Coca-Cola campaigns and eagerly learning techniques that he would carry into his famed pin-ups.
After completing several special commissions with rave reviews, Elvgreen began doing pin-up work in 1937 for the Louis F. Dow Calendar Company, the biggest retailer of calendars of its day. Almost overnight, the artist became one of the most respected and successful commercial artists. More commissions followed, and, along with his work for Dow, Elvgren found himself booked solid at least one year ahead of his output. It was in 1944 that Brown & Bigelow approached him with an offer for a staff position. From that point on, for the next 30 years, Elvgren enjoyed tremendous commercial success unlike any other American artist of his day.
Gil Elvgren: The Complete Pin-ups, 2008, Charles G. Martignette and Louis K. Meisel