Joaquin Alberto Vargas (February 9, 1896-December 30, 1982) was a noted Peruvian painter of pin-up girls. He is considered one of the most famous of the world's pin-up artists.
Numerous Vargas paintings have sold and continue to sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Born in Arequipa, Peru, he was the son of noted Peruvian photographer
Max T. Vargas. Alberto Vargas moved to the United States in 1916 after studying art in Europe, Zurich, and Geneva prior to World War I. While he was in Europe he came upon the French magazine La Vie Parisienne, with a cover by Raphael Kirchner,
which he said was a great influence on his work.
His early career in New York included work as an artist for the Ziegfeld Follies and for many Hollywood studios.
Ziegfeld hung his painting of Olive Thomas at the theater, and she was thought of as one of the earliest Vargas Girls. He became widely noted in the 1940s as the creator of iconic World War-II era pin-ups for Esquire magazine known as "Vargas Girls."
Between 1940 and 1946 Vargas produced 180 paintings for the magazine. The nose art of many American and Allied World War II aircraft was inspired and adapted from these Esquire pin-ups, as well as those of George Petty, and other artists.
Vargas' artistic work, paintings and color drawings, were periodically featured in some issues of Playboy magazine in the 1960s and 1970s. Over the years, Vargas produced
152 paintings for the magazine. His career flourished and he had major exhibitions all over the world.
In 1982, I discovered an original calendar of Vargas’s
Pin-Up Girls in a tiny antique store named Ruscil's in Rumson, New Jersey. Mr. Ruscil was well-known for buying entire contents of houses---including clothes, furniture, kitchen items--and everything in drawers, closets, even wastebaskets!
I bought The Calendar for---one dollar! Then, paid a reputable Framer almost 800 dollars to mat and frame the Pin-Up Girls into two frames---six calendar months in one
Frame—behind glass-- and the other six calendar months in a matching Frame. They hang together in my hall---on full display. Everyone who sees these Framed Vargas--Works of Art--loves them.
Many people have wanted to buy my framed Pin-Up Girls but—I’m not yet-ready to part with them.
PS. I'm sure
the day when come when I have no choice but sell my Treasures, Mementos, and Collectibles---because, I'll probably need the money.