Tuesday, June 4, 2013

OUR Artist of the Week: George Quaintance


George Quaintance was born in Page County Virginia, June 3, 1902.   He was a gay American artist, famous for his "idealized, strongly homoerotic" depictions of men in mid-20th-century physique magazines. Using historical settings to justify the nudity or distance the subjects from modern society, his art featured idealized muscular, semi-nude or nude male figures; Wild West settings were a common motif. His artwork helped establish the stereotype of the "macho stud" who was also homosexual.He was an influence on many later homoerotic artists, such as Tom of Finland. 
He was raised on a farm and as a young man displyed a talent for art, and though closeted he was described as "obviously and actively homosexual".   Quaintance studied at the ARt Students League where he threw himself into multiple disciplines including painting, drawing and dance.  After a brief marriage and stint as a hairstylist in the 1930s, his first art assignments were anonymous advertising contract work.  By 1934 he had begun to sell freelance cover illustrations to a variety of 'spicy' pulp magazines with names including Gay French Life, Ginger, Movie Humor, Movie Merry Go-Round, Snappy Detective Mysteries, Snappy Stories, Stolen Sweets, and Tempting Tales. These were sold at burlesque halls as well as under-the-counter at discreet newsstands.


In 1938, he returned home with his companion Victor Garcia, described as Quaintance's "model, life partner, and business associate", who was the subject of many of Quaintance's photographs in the 1940s.

 In 1951, Quaintance's art was used for the first cover of Physique Pictorial, edited by Bob Mizer of the Athletic Model Guild. In the early 1950s, Quaintance and Garcia moved to Rancho Siesta, which became the home of Studio Quaintance, a business venture based around Quaintance's artworks.

George Quaintance died of a heart attack on November 8, 1957

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