A Visit with Vargas

Alberto Vargas: Works from the Max Vargas Collection, by Reid Stewart Austin – I picked this book up from a discount rack at Barnes & Noble a while back, but didn’t get around to reading it until recently. It was mostly art, so there wasn’t that much reading required, but there was some text. Vargas, as you may know, is primarily known for his watercolors of nude women, which were featured in Esquire and Playboy back in the day. The book puts a considerable amount of focus on his crappy contract with Esquire, and subsequent legal battles with then-publisher David Smart. When Vargas worked for the magazine in the forties, he did so under the name of “Varga,” which became the property of Esquire when he left. The artist died in 1982, leaving behind a long legacy of scantily-clad pin-up paintings. As a general fan of pin-ups, whether clothed or not, I have to say I quite like Vargas’ style.

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