Gil Elvgren -- an illustrator regarded with the same respect as Alberto Vargas -- was one of America's premiere American pin-up artists. Considered by many as the "Norman Rockwell of Cheesecake", with his exquisite oils of gorgeous girls-next-door, skirts often billowing up to reveal a flash of lovely nylon-clad limbs. He often mirrors the sheer, nostalgic revery that the breathtaking illustrations of Haddon Sundblom's "Coca-Cola" Santas evoke. And for good reason. Haddon Sundblom was one of Elgren's mentors. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Gillette A. Elvgren graduated from University High School and commenced studies at the Minneapolis Art Institute.
Some of Gil's fellow students were other Coca-Cola illustration alumni, Coby Whitmore, Al Buell, Andrew Loomis, Ben Stahl and Robert Skemp. He graduated from the Institue during the depression at the age of twenty-two, joining the stable of artists at Stevens and Gross, Chicago's most prestigious advertising agency. Soon after, he became a protégé of the legendary Haddon Sundblom, who was most famous for his Coca Cola Santas. Elvgren contributed to several Coca-Cola ads. Sundblom taught his star pupil the lush brush stroke technique that makes Elvgren's girls such glowing wonders.