Passion For Art

>>>Albert Buell

Born in 1920 in Kansas, Albert Leslie Buell paperback cover artist, magazine illustrator, and Coca Cola artist worked with Elvgren in the Sundblom shop in Chicago. His oils are among the best pin-ups in that medium, although existing originals (on board, not canvas) are much smaller than those of Elvgren, Ballantyne and Ekman. Perhaps that explains a certain delicacy in his work; Buell’s pretty girls really are “pretty.” These girls-next-door are captured in such typically innocent pursuits as sewing, playing tennis, or riding a swing. Underclad as they are, Buell’s girls have a wholesomeness, an ingenuousness, rare in the pin-up form. 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.

Alfred Leslie Buell was born in 1910 in Hiawatha, Kansas. He briefly considered an engineering career before classes at the Chicago Art Institute and a trip to New York decided him on art. In 1935 he joined the Stevens/Hall/Biondi art studio in Chicago and his association there with Haddon Sundblom was to prove crucial to his artistic development. Self taught, by 1940 he had opened his own studio. Buell was among the artists who contributed to Esquire’s Gallery of Glamour commencing in 1946. He provided illustrations for many of America’s mainstream magazines and was active in the advertising field, most notably for Coca-Cola in the 1940s and 1950s. He ended his commercial career around 1965 and went on to paint fine-art subjects including landscapes and portrait commissions. He remained active until 1993 when he was injured in an accident.

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