In 1919, Alberto Vargas embarked upon an artistic career that would span more than six decades. Starting as the official painter for the Ziegfeld Follies, Vargas quickly earned a reputation as a brilliant artist, particularly for his ability to capture the radiant beauty of American women. His skills later took him to Hollywood where he painted portraits of the stars and created set designs for movies.
But the Varga Girl, first introduced by Vargas in 1940, solidified his position as one of the most influential artists of our time. Varga Girls have graced thousands of magazine gatefolds, calendars, advertisements, and movie posters.
During World War II, U.S. servicemen adorned their aircraft, ships, and even their uniform jackets with Varga Girl images, copied from the pages and calendars of Esquire magazine.
In the 1960's & 1970's, Alberto painted new images for a new generation. Now called Vargas Girls, these beauties were regularly featured in the monthly issues of Playboy magazine. By the time of his death in 1982, Alberto Vargas had established a legacy built upon his Varga and Vargas Girls, among the most recognizable cultural icons of the 20th century.
Vargas brought his portraits to life. His draftsmanship was clean, his technique in watercolor flawless. Few artists are as well known for painting the female form as Alberto Vargas. But Vargas did more than just paint women. He glorified them with a passion born of respect and admiration. When asked why he only painted women, Alberto would respond, Show me something more beautiful than a beautiful woman and then I'll go paint it.