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George Petty (American, 1894-1975)
Birth Place: Louisiana (United States)
Born in 1894 in Louisiana, American artist George Petty made pin-up art popular when his art first appeared in Esquire and True publications. He gave rise to the creation of the centerfold as some of his work was printed on two pages in the center of Esquire. His pin-up style was reproduced on the noses of the World War II fighter planes. Memphis Belle is an example of a reproduction of the "Petty Girls". His artwork has been reproduced for calendars and other print pieces.
His father, George III, was a photographer who made a living from selling portraits of young women and nudes. George IV showed promise in the art field when he became his school newspaper's artist, and his talent was noticed. He went on to study at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art and began teaching other students. He learned how to use the airbrush when he worked in his father's studio. He then studied at Academie Julian in Paris until he was ordered home after the start of World War I. His return to Chicago landed him a job retouching photos with the airbrush and painting calendar girls as a freelancer.
The iconic Petty Girl has been seen in a number of magazines and calendars. In 1950, Tippi Hedren played a Petty Girl in her film debut in the movie of the same name. The Beatles used a Petty Girl on the cover of their Lonely Hearts Club Band album.
George Petty died on July 21, 1975.
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