George Petty

From Academic Kids

George Petty (1894-1975) was an early pin-up artist. His pin-up art appeared primarily in Esquire and True Magazine, and in calendars by Esquire and True magazines and Ridge Tool Company. Petty's Esquire gatefolds originated the genre of fold-out magazine centerfolds.


Early life

George Brown Petty IV was born in Abbeville, Louisiana on April 27, 1894 to George Brown Petty III and his wife, Sarah. George was the couple's second child; his sister Elizabeth was born in 1891.

The Petty family moved to Chicago, Illinois just before the turn of the century, where George III, a photographer of some note, enjoyed considerable success. Today, it's possible to find his photographs of young women, madonnas, and nudes anywhere from coast to coast.


George was not a particularly good student in high school. He spent a great deal of time on extracurricular activities instead of schoolwork, and just barely squeezed through. His artistic bent first became obvious during his high school education, where he was the staff artist for the school newspaper.

During his high school years, George enrolled in evening classes at Chicago's Art Institute. Also during his high school years, George displayed his business acumen. He set up his own art course, charging classmates $5.00 per session.

During his summers, George worked in his father's photo shop, where he learned how to use an airbrush.

After his graduation from high school, George studied art at the Académie Julian. He stayed there, studying with Jean-Paul Laurens and others, until 1916, when World War I caused Joseph P. Herrick, ambassador at that time, to order all Americans to return home.

Artistic influences

George Petty never discussed in detail those artists that influenced him, other than J. C. Leyendecker (an artist for The Saturday Evening Post during George's high school days) for his interpretation of men, Coles Phillips for his technique, and Maxfield Parrish for his use of light. However, it can be inferred from his later work that other influences included those artists who were extremely popular in Paris at the time, such as Alfons Mucha, George Barbier, and Russell Flint.

External links

George Petty on the Pin-up Files ( Petty


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