No. 118 (essentialsaltes) wrote,
No. 118
essentialsaltes

Vargas by Reid Austin and Alberto Vargas

The book is not merely a coffeetable format collection of women wearing translucent nothings, but also provides an interesting biography of Peruvian-born Alberto Vargas. His father was a prominent photographer in Peru, and he sent his son to Europe to study art. The outbreak of WWI made studying problematic, so Alberto was booked to return to Peru via New York, but the Big Apple captured his imagination and he didn't return to Peru until many decades later, when he was awarded the Order of the Sun by the Peruvian President.
In the 30's, he found himself in Los Angeles, doing work for studios, and he bought a California bungalow in Westwood in 1936, where he and his wife lived for the rest of their lives (well, okay, work often took him to NYC and Chicago, but they kept the house there). I don't know the exact address, but the picture looks much like the area around, say, LaGrange and Veteran.
He worked for Esquire, which dropped the S in his name to make the term 'Varga Girl' more euphonious. Then he got screwed and sued by Esquire (okay, he had only himself to blame for signing a ridiculous contract). His career was rocky after that, until he came to the notice of "El Hefe", who started using his work in Playboy. Apparently, the first black nudes to appear in Playboy were Vargas art, though thankfully he had nothing to do with the embarrassing copy.
Anyway, Vargas was a hedgehog who knew one big thing. And that big thing was how to paint fur, sheer cloth, and idealized structurally dubious women.

Tags: art, book, la
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