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Olivia De Berardinis

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Olivia De Berardinis
De Berardinis in her Malibu studio, 2007
Born1949 (age 74–75)
Known forIllustration, pin-up art

Olivia De Berardinis, known professionally as Olivia, is an American artist who is famous for her paintings of women, often referred to as pinup or cheesecake art. She has been working in this genre since the mid-1970s, and became a contributor to Playboy in 1985 which ultimately led to her own monthly pinup page in the magazine.


De Berardinis was an only child[1] who was schooled in Elizabeth, NJ.[2] Some of her earliest paintings were of her mother.[1] De Berardinis arrived in Manhattan in 1967 where she enrolled in the School of Visual Arts.[2] She resided in New York City's Soho neighborhood from 1970 to 1974, creating Minimalist paintings. De Berardinis was one of the new artists introduced in the Second Annual Contemporary Reflections 1972–73, of the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, Connecticut.[3] She was also presented as one of 18 new artists in the "Tenth Anniversary, the Larry Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art 1964-74".[4]

By 1975, financial pressures forced De Berardinis to seek out commercial art work and she started painting women in explicit drawings for men's magazines.[5] In 1985 she started to contribute to Playboy magazine.[6] By June 2004, she was given her own monthly pinup page for the magazine that continued for many years, often appearing with captions written by Hugh Hefner.[7]

De Berardinis uses an airbrush to generate her figures.[8] Her female pin-ups were released in a digital collection on CD-ROM in 1990,[9] and early copies of the program MacPaint had an Easter egg that led to the presentation of her Zebra lady.[10][11]

She was called the "leading female pinup artist" in a 2001 guide on pornography.[12] In 2004, news articles noted De Berardinis was "one of the few female artists to achieve fame" in the genre of pinup art,[13] and her art can sell for up to $75,000.[14] She started creating paintings of 1950s pinup model Bettie Page in 1978, and would continue to do so for twenty years.[15][16]: 138  De Berardinis' called Page her favorite model, and presented her in a variety of poses.[16]: 139  Other people she used as models included Anna Nicole Smith,[1] Holly Madison,[17] Mamie Van Doren,[18] Margaret Cho, and Courtney Love.[2]

De Berardinis' artwork has been shown in art galleries throughout the United States,[19][20] including a boutique focused on Bettie Page.[21]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 1998 she received awards for the Best Cover/Illustration for a magazine for her 1997 cover for the Heavy Metal and an award for artistic achievement from the Chesley Awards for science fiction and fantasy art.[22]

Personal life[edit]

In 1979, she married Joel Beren.[2] In 1987, they moved from Manhattan, New York to Malibu, California, where they reside as of 2011.[23]

Selected works[edit]

  • Beauties Beasts, by Olivia De Berardinis and Jordu Schell, (Street Date: Feb 1, 2017), ISBN 978-1-61404-017-0
  • Malibu Cheesecake: The Pinup Art of Oliva, 2011, ISBN 0-929643-30-5
  • Bettie Page by Olivia, 2006, ISBN 0-929643-25-9
  • American Geisha: The Art Of Olivia III, 2003, ISBN 0-929643-15-1
  • Cheesecake Chronicles Volume 1: Art of Olivia, 2000, ISBN 0-929643-12-7
  • Second Slice: Art of Olivia II, 1997, ISBN 0-929643-07-0
  • Let Them Eat Cheesecake: The Art Of Olivia, 1993, ISBN 0-929643-06-2[24]


  1. ^ a b c "Art of the Peel". Gene Simmons Tongue #5. Vol. 2, no. 1. July 2003. pp. 12–13.
  2. ^ a b c d Boehm, Mike (27 July 2008). "It's Empowering, Really". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 13 Feb 2021. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  3. ^ "Contemporary Reflections 1972-73". The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. Retrieved 2023-06-09.
  4. ^ "Tenth Anniversary Exhibition 1964-1974". The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. Retrieved 2023-06-09.
  5. ^ Laden, Tanja M. (2016-05-31). "Meet the Woman Behind America's Most Legendary Pinup Art". Vice. Retrieved 2023-06-09.
  6. ^ De Berardinis, Olivia (2011). Malibu Cheesecake: The Pinup Art of Olivia. Malibu, CA: Ozone Productions, Ltd. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-929643-30-4. In 1985, Playboy photo editor Marilyn Grabovski asked me to work for her on a pictorial and cover for the magazine.
  7. ^ De Berardinis, Olivia (2011), p. 6.
    "For the Playboy January 2003 issue, Hef started using my Bettie pinups, with captions he penned. By June 2004 my pinups became a regular monthly feature in the magazine."
  8. ^ Siegel, Peter (1986). The complete airbrush book. Secaucus, N.J.: Leon Amiel Publisher. pp. 105–109. ISBN 978-0-8148-0734-7.
  9. ^ "Exotica ROM". MacUser. April 1990. p. 161.
  10. ^ The Zebra Lady. Macintosh: Mac Folklore Anecdotes. 28 January 2004.
  11. ^ Pogue, David (1998). The great Macintosh Easter egg hunt. New York: Berkley Books. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-425-16006-0.
  12. ^ Slade, Joseph W. (2001). Pornography and sexual representation : a reference guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. p. 529. ISBN 978-0-313-27568-5.
  13. ^ Ervolino, Bill (14 March 2004). "Pinup power ; Some art never loses its allure". The Record; Bergen County, N.J. [Bergen County, N.J]. pp. F01 – via Proquest.
  14. ^ Chang, Richard (28 February 2004). "Sex on a wall". National Post; Don Mills, Ont. [Don Mills, Ont]. pp. IN03 – via Proquest.
  15. ^ Sahagun, Louis (12 December 2008). "Iconic status mystified '50s pinup queen; Saucy Bettie Page photos credited with helping kick-start sexual revolution". Edmonton Journal; Edmonton, Alta. [Edmonton, Alta]. pp. A.4 – via Proquest.
  16. ^ a b Foster, Richard (1999). The real Bettie Page : the truth about the queen of the pin-ups. New York : Citadel ; Partridge Green: Biblios. ISBN 978-0-8065-2075-9.
  17. ^ Madison, Holly (2015). Down the rabbit hole : curious adventures and cautionary tales of a former Playboy bunny. New York, NY: Dey St. pp. 20, 258. ISBN 978-0-06-237210-9.
  18. ^ Hunter, Alexis (11 October 2013). "Pinup perfected". The Desert Sun ; Palm Springs, Calif. [Palm Springs, Calif]. p. 1 – via Proquest.
  19. ^ Who's Who in American Art 2009. Marquis Whos Who. 2008. pp. 311–312. ISBN 978-0-8379-6308-2.
  20. ^ Boehm, Mike (2007-09-22). "Sorayama prevails over art dealer". The Los Angeles Times. p. 56. Retrieved 2023-06-09.
  21. ^ Garman, Rick (2013). Frommer's Las Vegas 2013. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. p. 171. ISBN 978-1-118-28854-2.
  22. ^ Grant, John (2003). The Chesley Awards for science fiction & fantasy art : a retrospective. London: AAPPL Artists' and Photographers' Press. ISBN 978-1-904332-10-7.
  23. ^ De Berardinis, Olivia (2011).
  24. ^ Scream Queens Illustrated 01 (Stray Cat) (1994) (UK).

Further reading[edit]

  • The Great American Pin-Up by Charles G. Martignette and Louis K. Meisel, ISBN 3-8228-1701-5

External links[edit]