Alberto Vargas

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Alberto Vargas
was born in Peru, and educated in Switzerland. Arriving in New York in 1916, he was determined to stay in America and pursue what became an illustrious career. Alberto Vargas' name has become synonymous with pin-up girls, but in the early 1940s, he was just a guy hired by "Esquire" magazine. Vargas developed his own distinctive watercolor style. His wide-eyed wonder- women rivaled Betty Grable as the ultimate pin-up girl of World War II. Vargas (who signed his Esquire work "Varga") had already achieved some notoriety for his Ziegfeld Follies and movie poster art. But "Esquire" made him famous. Vargas was given a second shot at fame and fortune by longtime fan Hugh Hefner. Alberto Vargas' regular "Playboy" slot in the 1960s and '70s elevated Vargas to a pinnacle. One of the true giants of American illustration, Alberto Vargas has created an art style so sensuous, so exquisite, that for the past six decades his magnificent paintings of women have come to embody the fantasies of three generations of women and men around the world. His work also appeared in "Harper's Bazaar", "Theatre Magazine", and "Tattler". The Vargas Girl became an indelible symbol, first in the United States during World War II when Vargas¹ painting were called ³Varga Girls². In the years during the war, every month a new Varga Girl would appear printed on her own page in each issue of Esquire Magazine. The pages were torn out of the magazines and pinned up on barracks walls or folded up and tucked into the inside pocket of a flack jacket. The images that smiled back at their admirers became treasured emblems that were eventually reproduced by hand by devoted airmen, soldiers and sailors on the fuselages of aircraft, on tanks and ships, on pilots¹ jackets. Here is an original Esquire Magazine lithograph entitled “Double or Nothing” signed by Alberto Vargas, full name, and numbered 9/67.

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