14 Female Pin-up Artists You Should Know — But Probably Don’t [NSFW]

Vargas, Elvgren, and Moran — these are just some of the many well-known men who served “cheesecake” illustrations of hourglass-shaped bombshells that teased and pleased to American men way before more explicit photos and videos took their place. In magazines, on lockers, and even on the sides of planes, these images of titillating women smiling while showing off just the right amount of skin often accompanied lonely soldiers, especially during World War II. Pin-up art may have been a medium to worship breathtaking, perfectly shaped sirens, but unlike the aforementioned men, few women have been given the recognition they deserve for illustrating in such a male-dominated industry. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’re heating things up by paying tribute to the many female pin-up artists, past and present, whose work has raised more than just morale.

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Olivia De Berardinis

Recognized as the most famous living female pin-up artist, Olivia De Berardinis has been celebrated as the greatest since Alberto Vargas. De Berardinis — or “Olivia,” as fans call her — modestly describes herself as a “painter of women” in her biography. But she’s been creating art for decades, from her early-’70s life as a New York City loft-dwelling waitress/artist to her current post as Playboy’s artist in residence. Olivia has captured some of pop culture’s notable (and at times controversial) muses, including burlesque performer Dita Von Teese, comedian Margaret Cho, and rocker Courtney Love. However, her most iconic covergirl is ‘50s pin-up icon Bettie Page, who Olivia transformed into a sensual teacher, French maid, and mermaid, among others. Olivia continues to publish books and calendars, all paying tribute to the legions of women inspiring her.