Original Pinups

Exquisite Collection of Original Pin-up & Illustration Art 

Cover image: Alberto Vargas, Three of Spades, c. 1940s



The term "Pin-up" was first used in 1941.  It referred to as the act of "pinning up" the art to the wall.

The origin of the Pin-up art goes back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, during the Golden Age of Illustration. The Gibson Girls by Charles Dana Gibson (American, 1867-1944) personifies early pin-up art during this period.  During WWI (1914-1918), illustrations of stylized women on fashion magazines and postcards were extremely popular and used to enlist soldiers as well as to encourage morale on the front line. 

Historical WW I US Navy pinup


Gibson Girls by Charles Dana Gibson

Gibson Girls by Gibson

WW II Nose art The Dark Angel Varga Girl


Varga Girl Original Pinup by Alberto Vargas

In the 1940s, unlike the earlier images of more demure women, pin-up girls appeared far more provocatively, and they are sexually more explicit.

During WWII (1939-1945), for the first time in its history, the US military unofficially sanctioned this kind of racy art.  Pin-up pictures, magazines, and calendars were shipped and distributed among the troops, often at government expense, to "raise morale" and remind the young men what they were fighting for.

Pin-up by Vargas

The soldiers would carry illustrated images of beautiful women on postcards, calendars, or magazines. They adorned lonely servicemen's lockers, barracks’ walls, and even the sides of planes (Nose Art).

The hallmarks of pin-up art embodying images of beautiful women and eroticism are not to be confused with pornographic images. They were meant to be "pinned-up" and not hidden.

Varga Girls World War II Pin up art by Alberto Vargas


1: Propaganda poster for WWI designed by Howard Chandler Christy. King & McGaw. Digital image.

2: Gary M. Valant. Vintage Aircraft Nose Art: Ready for Duty. 1987. Motorbooks International, Osceola, WI.

3: Max Allan Collins. For The Boys: The Racy Pin-Ups of World War II. Collectors Press, Portland, Oregon.

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Patrick Nagel (1945-1984) is an American artist. He is best known for his illustration for Playboy and artwork of the Duran Duran album Rio. His art emphasizes the female form in a distinctive style descended from Art Deco, which became one of the iconic styles of pinup art of the 1980s.

All images may be subject to copyright  © 2022 Vegas Original Pinups

Alberto Vargas (1894-1986 ) Peruvian-born artist Alberto Vargas moved to the United States in 1916. He was working as an artist in New York taking any jobs from retouching photo negatives to drawing dress patterns. In 1919 he was hired by Florenz Ziegfeld as a house artist of the Ziegfeld Theatre. Florenz Ziegfeld gave Vargas a studio above his office at the New Amsterdam Theatre where Vargas created the posters and artwork for Ziegfeld's theatres for 13 years.

All images may be subject to copyright  © 2022 Vegas Original Pinups

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