Maxwell “Coby” Whitmore was a commercial artist from Dayton, Ohio, who enjoyed a long and productive career as an illustrator and painter. His illustrations appeared on the covers of publications including The Saturday Evening Post, Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and Sports Illustrated. He contributed illustrations to many national and international ad campaigns as well.
His pinups, while undeniably sexy, also all seem to have a backstory, which sets them apart from the subjects of the likes of Alberto Vargas and Gil Elvgren (both artists I adore). And as good as his pinups and glamour illustrations are, it’s his depictions of relationships with which I’m most impressed. Unlike Norman Rockwell and other nationally-known illustrators of the time whose work centered mainly around wholesome, happy people, the relationships he painted seem more complicated and gritty and real. The man must have been one hell of an observer of human behavior. I imagine him spending endless hours just watching people, but I’m glad he did. He certainly turned his observations into something beautiful!