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 '30s. 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.
Moran broke onto the scene with a splash in 1933 by submitting
the provocative 'Golden
Hours' under contract with Brown and Bigelow. He moved to New
York City and lived the fast life, including highly publicized charges
of adultery in a bitter divorce. He also used photographs to capture
natural, wholesome poses from his models
Breaking in via advertising work for Sears-Roebuck, Moran
went on to magazine illustration (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").
His most enduring pin-ups feature his famous late '40s
model, Marilyn Monroe. Later
he turned to oils, and, working from the late '50s until
his death, an outstanding series of sensual nudes.