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When the first issue of Esquire magazine hit the market in October 1933, Chicago-based illustrator George Petty rose from journeyman regional advertising artist to a national arbiter of female beauty. Though not yet 30 when his work at Esquire made him famous, Petty had been working steadily as an artist since his mid-teens. As a luxury-oriented magazine in Depression America, Esquire had to both glorify consumerist objects of desire and also give readers who couldn’t afford access to them an outlet to mock the millionaire class. Petty’s work offered just that. With their signature long lashes, impossibly long legs and clothes that showcase what’s beneath them, “Petty Girls” quickly became near perfect symbols of their time, and George Petty, one of the central figures in the creation of pin-up art as we know it today. 

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