Rolf Armstrong was an American painter born in 1889. Known for his striking portraits of beautiful women, he painted many famous actresses, including Mary Astor, Mary Pickford and Greta Garbo. A Hollywood favorite, Armstrong also painted Boris Karloff in character as “Frankenstein” and James Cagney on set as “Mr. Roberts.” He created a signature style, using pastels and bold color choices.
In the 1940s, Armstrong’s body of work, particularly his portraits of idyllic women, helped inspire a nation at war and established his reputation as one of the best “pin-up” artists of the 20th century.” Dubbed “the father of the calendar girl,” his images were widely copied onto bombers and tank turrets during World War II.
The artist enjoyed a long and fruitful career. Calendars featuring his iconic images were quite popular, and he produced advertisements for Oneida Silverware, Hires Root Beer, Old Gold Cigarettes and other companies. Armstrong’s paintings appeared in publications, such as Photoplay, The Saturday Evening Post and Life. He died in 1960.