Art Frahm (1907–1981) was an American artist best known for his drawing of 1950s pin-ups. Falling panties were his muse and sticks of celery his sunflowers. Frahm’s tableaux feature white women dashing home from the grocery store shocked or non-plussed to find that their silky knickers have fallen down to their ankles. The women have vacuous, dollish faces. The leering men – perhaps blessed with the power of telekenesis – are possessed of all the panache and gallantry of crows scrapping over roadkill. Their greasepaint eyebrows lift in expectation of still more excitement. As James Lileks notes: “Her pants are down and she can’t run. Have at it, boys!”
Frahm’s celebrations on the lack of decent knicker elastic in post-war America built on his earlier work for Quaker Oats and Coppertone, for whom he created the 3-year-old girl having her bathing suit pulled by a dog. His daughter Diana Armstrong modelled for the image in the early 1940s. Doubtless talented, a posthumous exhibition of his work saw him dubbed “He’s like a Norman Rockwell”.
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