Saturday, November 19, 2011

Camels and Coffee

Many many people love pin-up art, and there is much of it (pin-up art, that is) for people to love. The golden age of pin-ups (1930?-1950?) was the best (in my opinion), I think because of a form of innocent sexuality. The nudity is removed from reality and the spirit of more innocent times is swirled into the paint.

Compare the work below, all created by the same artist, Fritz Willis. The top image is one of his earlier paintings and is just this side of being a cartoon for Esquire or Playboy, with stylized features and a golden aura. Below that is Willis' later work, from the Walter Foster art instruction book by Willis. The models are sophisticated women with a 60s' Las Vegas showgirl look about them. They're nicely done, but to my old and weary eyes they are commercial works trying to be fine art, whereas the first one is happy to be just a beautiful pin-up on a barrack's wall.

Fritz Willis — Camels and Coffee

Fritz Willis — cover art to the Walter T. Foster book, The Nude

Fritz Willis — sketch from his book, and some good advice

Fritz Willis — Chianti


Larry MacDougall said...

How could you not love that first girl ? She drinks black coffee and smokes camels. :)

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

The first picturelooks nice enough to be dispayed on a wall!

Daniel [] said...

As a teenager, all that I saw of Willis's work were the Foster images. And, while the technical quality registered with me, I had no sense that I wanted to do stuff like that.

BTW, speaking of art instruction (and running-off on a tangent), have you seen The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing by Anthony Ryder?

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Hi guys, thought that'd get your attention.

Daniel, I'm familiar with Ryder's amazing work, but have not seen that book. Can I assume it's amazing as well?

Daniel [] said...

It's really a remarkable book, and perfect for someone who aspires to draw in a classical style, or with characteristics taken from such style.

(I in no way mean to suggest that a classical style is intrinsically the best style; but it's an important and worthy style.)

Annie said...

Hi Thom,

The first woman is elfin, though perhaps unrealistically endowed. I love the details and the background, and the colors and the technique in that one. She has personality and an unselfconsious quality. I like the sketch on the wall behind her, too.

The depictions of the rest of the women are technically proficient, but static, and are without "soul."

Joe Jusko said...

The Walter T. Foster FRITZ WILLIS books were the first art books I ever got. I asked my parents to buy them for me when I was 11 or 12 and to my surprise I got them that Christmas! I still have them. Always loved the cover for The Nude.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Annie—Good analysis.

Joe_Thank god for parents like that. Mine were like that too.