Passion For Art

>>>Earl Moran

Earl Moran was a master of pastels, though he showed little if any influence of reigning Brown & Bigelow star Rolf Armstrong, whose domain he encroached upon in the 1930s. Prolific Moran, Iowa-born, a Chicago Art Institute attendee, was soon a superstar himself, creating lively, sexy girls whose relationship with the viewer was seldom a teasing one. Unlike Elvgren and others, Moran did not continually re-work one type of situation, and his pin-ups have more variety than any other major contributor to the field. Breaking in via advertising work for Sears-Roebuck, Moran went on to magazine illustration, for example Life, movie posters (Something for the Boys 1944) and even co-published an early “girlie” magazine, Beauty Parade, contributing covers, sometimes under his middle name non de plume, Steffa.

The inception of Earl Moran’s vibrant career as a pin-up artist could be narrowed to 1932 when Moran signed an exclusive contract with Brown & Bigelow who eventually sold millions of calendars graced with his sensual art deco pin-up girls. His studies began much earlier, first at the Chicago Art Institute and then at the famed Art Students League in Manhattan where he studied under Vincent Dumond, Robert Henri, George Bridgman and Thomas Fogarty (Norman Rockwell’s teacher). Moran was a photographer, as well as an illustrator, which lent well in his portrait pin-ups by giving him a great knowledge of lighting and shadows. A young model named Norma Jean Dougherty approached this famed artist in an attempt to pose for a painting. For four years Moran painted Marilyn Monroe and they created a lasting friendship.

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