Earle K. Bergey


Earle K. Bergey

Earle K. Bergey (August 16, 1901 - 1952) was an American painter of pin-up art. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and attended the Academy of Fine Arts there from 1921 to 1926.

After leaving the academy, Bergey initially went to work in the art department of the Philadelphia "Ledger". He also produced the comic strip "Deb Days" in 1927. He later contributed many covers to the pulp magazines of publisher Fiction House. In 1935 he married and, while continuing to paint for Fiction House, he also accepted assignments for "The Saturday Evening Post". He then moved his family to Bucks County, Pennsylvania and opened a studio in New York City. In the 1930s, Bergey painted for a number of mainstream magazines such as "Liberty", as well as men's magazines such as "Gay Broadway" and "Snappy".

During the 1940s, Bergey painted covers for a number of science fiction magazines, such as Standard Publishers' "Strange Stories" and "Captain Future", and later for "Fantastic Story Magazine", "Planet Stories" and others. His illustrations featured women in space helmets and bikinis or skin-tight outfits which were later the inspiration for Princess Leia's slave-girl outfit in "Return of the Jedi". These covers, often described as "Bim, BEM, Bum," usually featured a woman being menaced by a Bug Eyed Monster or robot who resembled a man in a rubber suit, with an astronaut or other heroic type coming to her assistance. The bikini-tops worn by the girls often resembled coppery metal, giving rise to the phrase, "the girl in the brass bra," often used in reference to this sort of art.

In 1948 Bergey made the transition to the rapidly expanding paperback book industry. He worked first for Popular Library, then later for Pocket Books. His art graced the covers of dozens of novels, and helped to sell millions of volumes. His paperback covers for Popular Library usually illustrated general fiction titles (his most famous, or infamous, examples being covers for "The Private Life of Helen of Troy" and "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"). Public and political pressure fuelled by his highly erotic "Helen of Troy" cover forced Popular Library to stop using him. Today Bergey is best remembered for his very distinctive and influential science fiction pulp cover paintings.

Bergey died suddenly in 1952 in a doctor's office.

ee also

* Pin-up girl
* List of pinup artists
* Good girl art

External links

*
* [http://kotisivu.mtv3.fi/spacecadet/cf/bergey.htm "Captain Future" covers by Bergey]
* [http://www.vintagepbks.com/bergeycovers.html 14 covers by E. Bergey]
* [http://paperbarn.www1.50megs.com/Untitled/Bergey2.html Some Popular Library covers]

References

*cite book|last=Martignette|first=Charles G.|coauthors=and Louis K. Meisel|title=The Great American Pin-up|year=1996|publisher=Taschen|location=Cologne|id=ISBN 3-8228-1701-5
* Strickler, Dave. "Syndicated Comic Strips and Artists, 1924-1995: The Complete Index." Cambria, CA: Comics Access, 1995. ISBN 0-9700077-0-1.


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