Born 9 February 1896 in Peru, Alberto Vargas was the son of a renowned photographer, Max Vargas, who had taught him how to use an airbrush by the time he was thirteen.
Vargas' first encounter with America happened about noon at Broadway and Fourteenth Street, when he was suddenly surrounded by a lunchtime crowd of smartly dressed office workers. Alberto Vargas' first job was drawing fashion illustrations (mostly in watercolour and pen and ink) for the Adelson Hat Company and Butterick Patterns. Within twenty-four hours, Vargas found himself commissioned to paint twelve watercolour portraits of the leading stars of the 1919 Ziegfeld Follies for the lobby of the New Amsterdam Theatre. In 1927, Vargas went to work for the Paramount Pictures' art department in New York and was chosen to create the original artwork for the film Glorifying the American Girl, which was being produced by Ziegfeld. Vargas maintained a full schedule throughout the 1920s, working for a diverse group of clients in addition to the Follies and Paramount.


All Pin-up Files gallery images are subject to copyright and must not be considered to be in the public domain. In 1911, while accompanying Max on a trip to Paris, Alberto came upon the famous magazine La Vie Parisienne, and its sensuous front covers by Raphael Kirchner made a lasting impression on him.
Mesmerized by their grace, sophistication, and beauty the young artist decided he would spend his life glorifying the American Girl.
Yet, although he was in the company of the most beautiful girls in the world, he knew there was only one woman for him: Anna Mae Clift, a showgirl with the rival Greenwich Village Follies.
Working in an atmosphere of extraordinary harmony between artist, producer, and film, Vargas created advertising artwork that, aside from general distribution, also appeared in Paramount's 20th Anniversary Book, published in 1927 for the company's stars and executives. He painted front covers for Tatler and Dance magazines, did hairstyle illustrations for Harper's Bazaar, and even designed some countertop displays for Old Gold cigarettes.


He studied in Zurich and Geneva before leaving Europe because of the war and arriving on Ellis Island in October 1916.
Yet he still found time to paint hisfavourite Ziegfeld Follies stars for his own pleasure, including the daring Shirley Vernon, whose 1927 portrait was preserved in his private collection.



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