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Lot # 828 (of 873)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1937 Gil Elvgren Oil Original of His Famous "Sure Shot" Pin-Up

Starting Bid - $5,000.00, Sold For - $13,800.00

Offered is one of the most famous of all paintings by the legendary Gil Elvgren (1914-1980), the very painting used in the 1937 American Beauties set issued by Gum, Inc. Gil Elvgren is considered by many to be the single most significant American pinup artist of the twentieth century. This is one of Elvgren's earliest and most published works. It is one of the most well known images of the first series of pinups that Elvgren ever produced. These early paintings, commissioned by the Louis F. Dow Calendar Company in 1937, are an extremely significant series, not just because they are such famous and much published images, but also because these are the paintings which established Elvgren as America's premier pinup artist. The Louis F. Dow Calendar Company marketed the Elvgren images not just on calendars, but on many other products as well. They are especially well known to card collectors as they appeared as the images for the American Beauties card set by Gum Inc., as well as on the postcard-sized Mutascope vending cards. These paintings also appeared on ink blotters, report covers, matchbook covers, and a multitude of other products over the years. It is interesting to note that after paying Elvgren for his work, the Dow Company would publish it, and then have another artist alter many of these early paintings, changing backgrounds, poses and even the dress of figures, as a way of creating new images worthy of marketing at a minimum cost. This was understandably a sore point with Elvgren, and it has been said that this may have played a significant role in his eventual departure from Dow as their premier artist. Of special note with reference to "Sure Shot" is that this is one of the very few original paintings (possibly the only one, in fact) from the historic Dow series which has survived unaltered by Dow over the years, with the beauty appearing exactly as she did when Elvgren first painted her. After Elvgren left Dow, he went on to create pinups for the Brown and Bigelow Calendar Company, and also produced images for many prestigious advertising accounts such as Coke over the next 25 years. This is as early as it gets for Elvgren, as "Sure Shot" was one of the very first images produced for the Louis F. Dow Calendar Company in 1937. Few works by Elvgren can compare in majesty or historical significance to this early masterpiece. The painting, in oils on canvas, measures an impressive 24.5 by 30.5 inches, and is in flawless condition. It is beautifully framed (no glass) to dimensions of 30 x 36 inches. A painted copyright notification on the reverse reads "Copyrighted, Louis F. Dow Co., April 20, 1937." The original painting is accompanied by a 1947 single-sheet calendar, a 1940s ink blotter, and a circa 1940 Mutascope vending card, all in exceptional condition, and all featuring the famous "Sure Shot" image. For additional reference, see pg. 44, fig. 87, of Charles G. Martignette and Louis K. Meisel's book, Gil Elvgren All His Glamorous American Pin-Ups (Taschen). Reserve $5,000. Estimate $8,000/$12,000. SOLD FOR $13,800.00


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