Monday, October 14, 2013

With Love from Zoe

My grandmother used to say, "I never met a stranger."   Her collection of friends included people she met at work, people she met at estate sales (it runs in the family), and a number of artists, some of whom I met when I was a kid.   (I'll tell you about them sometime.)

But I never got to meet her friend Zoe.  (Her given name was Alice Adelaide Moser, but she painted under the name Zoe', putting a little dash after the "e.")

My grandmother and her friend from work, Georgia, met Zoe the artist in Arizona many years ago, when all of them were middle-aged. 

Georgia and Zoe, in particular, got to be very good friends.  When Georgia died in the 1970s, some postcards affectionately signed by Zoe were among the items left by Georgia to my grandmother.  The signed postcards were long ago sold to a collector, but we made color photocopies of them first.

"Love to Georgia, Zoe'"

"To my dear little Georgia, the best friend one can have.  Love, Zoe' Mozert"

"To my dear, dear Georgia, with much love, Zoe'"

"To sweet Georgia, Lots of love, Zoe'"

I think I know why my grandmother didn't talk much about her friend Zoe when I was young.  It's because Zoe, the artist who painted the lovely all-American mid-century girls on Georgia's postcards, was Zoe' Mozert (1907-1993), one of the best-known American "pinup" artists of all time. 

Back then, you didn't explain pinup art to a little kid.   Nor did you explain to a kid that, back in the day (as they say), Zoe often used herself as a model.  It was enough to say to a kid that Zoe was an artist, and look at how good she was at painting people.  

And she was good.  Zoe's art adorned countless magazine covers and ads for everything from perfume to swimwear to makeup.  She created iconic (and sometimes controversial) Hollywood movie posters.  Her critics have called her a "pastel master" and noted that, regardless of what they were (or weren't) wearing, the young women in Zoe's art did not all look the same; they were portrayed as individuals.

How did my sweet conservative Christian grandmother come to be friends with a pin-up artist?  I have no idea.  Perhaps it's because she was true to her motto:  She never met a stranger.  


This is a "family" blog.  :)  If you want to see examples of Zoe's pinup art, you won't have any trouble finding them online.

Zoe was a well-known commercial artist.  Here are some examples of her work that appeared in magazines:,z.htm

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