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Nose Art

Updated on February 21, 2011

Nose Art

Is this what you think of when you hear the term, "nose art"?
Is this what you think of when you hear the term, "nose art"? | Source

What kind of "nose art" did you have in mind?

The images to the right are often what comes to mind, especially for descendants of the Baby Boom generation.  Not a surprise with the rise in popularity of body piercings and tattoos.  

The parents of the "Boomers" would quickly think of something altogether different when the subject comes up.

The "Greatest Generation" remembers art work that adorned military aircraft in World War II. Much of that art work was inspired by the great pin-up artists of the day such as George Petty, Gil Elvgreen, and Alberto Vargas.

Another kind of "Nose Art"

In later years, Vargas came out of retirement and did a record cover for The Cars using a similar pose to his original work that was an inspiration for WWII bombers. Image credits: Left: record cover, Amazon.com Right: http://www.398th.org
In later years, Vargas came out of retirement and did a record cover for The Cars using a similar pose to his original work that was an inspiration for WWII bombers. Image credits: Left: record cover, Amazon.com Right: http://www.398th.org

The Memphis Belle

Image credits: Left: b24bestweb.com Right: nakedbats.com
Image credits: Left: b24bestweb.com Right: nakedbats.com

Top Gun

Perhaps the most famous of all the pin-up artists was the man who worked at Esquire magazine then went on to fame and fortune at Playboy .  He painted famous Hollywood stars and other beautiful models idealizing their proportions and enhancing their appeal.  He didn't need image editing software nor urban girls.

His work inspired much of the "nose art" on bombers, including the "Memphis Belle", shown here with the original print.

Attention getters!

Below are two of his more famous images. Of course, Marilyn Monroe. In this case, she's displaying two of Vargas' trademarks: long thin fingers and red fingernails.

Then comes the image that in 2003 set a record for the most paid for a Vargas print, "Trick or Treat". It brought almost $80,000 in a Christies auction of material from the Playboy archives. We cannot show it here, but if you Google it, you can find it on your own.

Marilyn

Image credit: http://blondeandred.blogspot.com
Image credit: http://blondeandred.blogspot.com
Image credit: musicstack.com One of several images Vargas did when he came out of retirement after his wife died: a record cover for Bernadette Peters.
Image credit: musicstack.com One of several images Vargas did when he came out of retirement after his wife died: a record cover for Bernadette Peters.

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    • FCEtier profile image
      Author

      Chip 6 years ago from Cold Mountain

      @Joshua, Stars,gypsy willow,jadedlove, and vocalcoach: Thanks for stopping by and commenting. This was a fun article to research and write!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Vargas girls were some of my mothers favorites. I love all of the photos and found your article both fun and educational. Thank you so much. VC

    • profile image

      JadedLove 6 years ago

      Nose art is lovely to me. I have my septum pierced and it is an eye grabber.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      What beautiful art, I started reading because I thought you were going to write about nose piercing, a pet hate! Lovely hub thanks!

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Love this hub. God Bless You.

    • Joshua Kell profile image

      Levi Joshua Kell 6 years ago from Arizona

      Nose art is cool. Thanks.

    • FCEtier profile image
      Author

      Chip 6 years ago from Cold Mountain

      Thank you all for stopping by and for commenting!

    • sueroy333 profile image

      Susan Mills 6 years ago from Indiana

      This nose art is WAY more interesting than the nose ring, which I have always seen as more of a booger-catcher than "art".

      I didn't know about any of this, so I really enjoyed the education!

    • bingskee profile image

      bingskee 6 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

      didnt have knowledge about pin ups until one day when daughter who's an artist brought home a magazine about it. interesting works of art.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I do recall pictures of WWII planes with pinups.I think George HW bush had a picture of Barbara on his.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Vargas was one of a kind - some men bought Esquire magazine at the time just for his remarkably beautiful and sensuous covers. Thanks for reminding me, FCE.