Joaquin Alberto Vargas (9 February 1896 – 30 December 1982) was a noted Peruvian painter of pin-up girls. He is often considered one of the most famous of the 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.
PS. Sometime soon--possibly this year--I will sell my VARGAS GIRLS. ALL my Treasures, Mementos, and Collectibles deserve caring and loving homes.