Edwin Georgi (1896 - 1964) Originally leaving Princeton with the ambitions of being a writer, Georgi wrote copy in an agency until persuaded that he would make a better painter. His depiction of sultry, sensual femininity, with a bewildering palette of pearlescent hues, created a powerful image of eroticism in fifties America - and one of impeccable morality. His quality of light was unique - the highlights burning with adjacent areas of pink and lilac. The reflected light he loved so much seemed to come from beneath, and scattered around the face giving an almost unearthly glow. From a large collection I have chosen characteristic images of his free but effective brushwork.

The description of him as a 'Girlie Illustrator' does him a great disservice - like calling Cukor a 'woman's director'. Georgi is synonymous with the exuberant use of colour but his compositional strengths over the single and double pages are formidable, and the devices he uses to charge the narrative are ingenious and variable. It is no service to his reputation when the main page of a double page spread is alone shown on numerous occasions.

Historians of American Editorial and Advertising Illustration are all too ready to accept the convenient cliche of interpretation without challenge, be it the sentimentalities of Rockwell, the hyper realism of Crockwell and the Girlie Art of Edwin Georgi.

Nothing is ever said of his ability to capture a full range of expressions and the effective interaction of couples. It needs to be stressed that he was often commissioned to illustrate Tales of Mystery and Suspense, murder and vigorous action.

I have a separate section here devoted to his smaller illustrations and those with restricted colour.


Some idea of where he came from stylistically is hinted at by a prize winning cover for the Woman's Home Companion 1935.

click to enlarge


click to enlarge