Thursday, November 18, 2004

Alberto Vargas: part 2


A year after Vargas joined Esquire, America went to war and so did the Varga Girl. Vargas designed mascots for the forces, and the GI’s copied her onto their uniforms, planes, submarines and torpedoes. The US government sanctioned the Varga Girl as a morale builder and let Esquire send six million special military issues free of charge to troops overseas, with a Varga Girl on the back cover accompanied by the text "She’s all yours, Boys!" There were reports of several soldiers lying dead with a Varga girl picture in their hands. Vargas’ relationship with Esquire ended with a court battle, with Esquire claiming they owned the name Varga. So for the 150 paintings he created for Playboy over a 18 year period, his girls were now called “Vargas Girls”. He died in 1982, aged 86, having spent the last years of his life collecting rare cacti and listening to Beethoven.

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