Pulp Painter

about Robert McGinnis

Best known for painting provocative pulp and detective novel covers which often depict women seductively posed in various states of undress, Robert McGinnis illustrated this motif over 1200 times, at a time when it was very successful in marketing and selling pulp novels. In addition, many popular film posters feature McGinnis’ paintings. Film posters for Barbarella — 1968 —, Thunderball — 1965 —, Diamonds Are Forever — 1971 —, Breakfast at Tiffany’s — 1961 —, and many others have benefited from McGinnis’ alluring style.

His attention to detail was such that when he was assigned to do the artwork for Arabesque he requested Sophia Loren’s tiger stripe dress be sent for him for a model to wear so he could get the right appearance.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1926, Robert became an apprentice at the Walt Disney studios, then studied fine art at Ohio State University. After wartime service in the Merchant Marine he entered advertising and a chance meeting with Mitchell Hooks in 1958 led him to be introduced to Dell Publishing began a career drawing a variety of paperback covers for books written by such authors as Donald Westlake — writing as Richard Stark —, Edward S. Aarons, Erle Stanley Gardner, Richard S. Prather, and the Michael Shayne and Carter Brown series.

Robert is a member of the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame and the subject of a documentary film, Robert McGinnis: Painting the Last Rose of Summer, by Paul Jilbert.


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