art frahm
Marijn Kruijff
4 min

Embarrassing Images of Ladies In Distress by Art Frahm

4 min

Before I came across the pin-up work of the Chicago-born artist, Art Frahm, I was not familiar with the 'falling-panty (or 'panty drop')' theme  To make this already sub-niche even more distinctive, he often gave his 'unfortunate' ladies in distress a shopping bag with a stalk of celery sticking out without exception.

Template For Illustrators

Frahm was born in 1906, in an immigrant community of Chicago, to a German-born mother and a bartender father, who was later to become a machinist. After art school, Frahm closely followed the template for illustrators in the region: He apprenticed to Haddon Sundblom, assisting in his freelance assignments, and went on to join the stable at Steven's Gross, working alongside other notable pin-up illustrators such as Joyce Ballantyne and Gil Elvgren.

art frahm panties

Fig.1. 'A Sudden Letdown! ' (1958)

Stand-alone Pin-up Images

The Louis F. Dow Conpany commissioned Frahm's earliest pin-ups. As one of many hopeful "next Elvgrens," he created stand-alone pin-up images intended for V-mail to servicemen stationed overseas during World War II. In 1943 he switched from painting pin-up girls to receiving them when he enlisted in the Army at age 37.

Embarrassment Series

Upon his return to civilian life he began charting his own course in the pin-up world. Using the sunshiny palette and heavy, swirling "mayonnaise" style  of oil-on-canvas favored by the Chicago school, Frahm made a name for himself with what would come to be known  as the "embarrassment series."

art frahmFig.2.  'A Grand Slam ' (c.1948), for a Goes Litho calendar

Aprons For Welding Helmets

Working for Brown and Bigelow's lower-brow rival Joseph C. Hoover & Sons, Frahm homed  in on the post-war conflict between servicemen  who returned to America expecting to be king of the castle, and women who had traded their aprons for welding helmets.

"Ooh Face"

His gleefully fanciful genre features fresh-faced young wives trying to make their way through the world, only to find their panties around their ankles. Grocery bags are their undoing; each struggles with a full sack, or sacks, generally packed with luxuriant stalks of celery intended for a husband's dinner, that prohibit then from catching their underwear on the way down. The shocked look on their faces - the "ooh face," as it is known  - evokes that liminal space between the public and private spheres.

art frahm pin-up

Fig.3. 'No Time To Lose ' (.c.1959)

art frahm ladies in distress

Fig.4. 'O-Ooh! '

art frahm  gallery

Fig.5. 'The Shake-down ' (1955)

art frahm images

Fig.6. 'A Fare Loser '

art frahm pun-up girls

Fig.7. 'Going Down ' (1956)

art frahm pin-up girls


art frahm American painter

Fig.9. 'The Farmer's Daughter ' (1945), for a six-page 1947 Kemper-Thomas Co. calendar

art frahm American illustrator

Fig.10. 'The Warm-up '

art frahm pin-up art

Fig.11. 'Is There a Man in the House?' (c.1948)

art frahm pool girl

Fig.12. 'A Bathing Beauty with Beach Ball '

art frahm pin up

Fig.13. 'Gossamer Girl '.

art frahm panties


Become a Premium member now, and check out the extended version with. among other things, more on the specific look of these females in distress,  his other illustration work (like the spicy calendars), and more than three times as much enticing illustrations (including nudity).

Click HERE to check out the voluptuous pulp covers of Margaret Brundage....!!

Sources: The Art of Pin-Up by Dian Hanson, Twitter, Pinterest, Lileks

Let us know what you think about the "panty drop" sensuality of Art Frahm in the comment box below...!!