Alberto Vargas

Alberto Vargas, a renowned Peruvian painter of pin-up girls, was born February 9, 1982 in Arequipa. His father was photographer Max T. Vargas and Alberto started out trying to follow in his footsteps. With his fathers encouragement he turned more to airbrushing and painting, studying in Europe, Zurich and Geneva prior to World War I. A French magazine cover by Raphael Kirchner, on a La Vie Parisienne issue is said to be his main influence.

Moving to the United States in 1916, he became an artist for the Ziegfeld Follies. Ziegfield hung his painting of silent film star Olive Thomas at a theater which is now thought to be the first “Vargas Girl”. His most famous film work was his poster for the 1933 film The Sin of Nora Moran.

He became a noted artist in the 1940’s with his World War II era pin-ups in Esquire magazine, producing 180 paintings, some which were adapted for American and Allied Aircraft nose art.

In 1959 he began his Playboy career, producing 152 paintings for the magazine in the next 16 years. After his wife died in 1974 he pretty much retired. His autobiography came out in 1976 bringing him out of retirement briefly to do a few works, like The Cars and Bernadette Peters album covers.

He died of a stroke, at age 86, on December 30, 1982. His work was mostly a combination of airbrush and watercolor. His mastery, with the airbrush, is acknowledged by the founding of the Vargas Award awarded every year by Airbrush Action Magazine. Most of his Esquire works are held at the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas.

Brett is brought in sometimes to appraise, the tv show, Pawn Stars art.

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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