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Alberto Vargas: Works from the Max Vargas Collection Hardcover – September 20, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Hardcover, September 20, 2006
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About the Author

Reid Stewart Austin is the author of Alberto Vargas: The Authorized Biography (1978) as well as Varga: The Esquire Years (1987), The Classic Pin-up Art of George Petty (1998), and several articles on Vargas for Playboy and other national magazines.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Bulfinch; First Edition edition (September 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821257927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821257920
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.8 x 13.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #813,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim Janson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
There are a few legitimate greats, legends of the pin-up and glamour art world whose names are synonymous with style and perfection. There's Rolf Armstrong, Zoe Mozert, Gil Elvgren, and, perhaps the greatest of them all, Alberto Vargas. Vargas first came to notoriety in 1919 when he was hired by the Ziegfeld Follies to paint portraits of the various Follies Revue stars. He would work for several years producing pinups for Esquire Magazine but it was his work for Playboy Magazine beginning in 1960 that made him a legend. The Vargas page in Playboy would become a regular feature for the next decade and a half.

This book contains an eclectic assortment of Vargas art beginning with the earliest work in 1914 and running up through 1975, over sixty years worth of work. It is indeed fascinating to compare his works from the twenties to those of the sixties and seventies. Despite the changes in fashion, hairstyles, and even facial expressions, Vargas' work always had an innate sensuality to them.

The names of the Follies women aren't remembered by most people today but women like Olive Thomas and Nita Nadli were the starlets of their era. His work in the thirties included paintings of Hollywood stars as well movie posters. His subjects included a young Shirley Temple and the sultry Marlene Dietrich.

Several examples of Vargas' sketches are shown partnered with the finished paintings so one can see the progression and changes made along the way. There are a number of two-page spreads in the book such as "Cordillera De Los Andes" a wonderful nude spread of a sexy blonde lying face down. It is simple, yet remarkable erotic. "Blonde Venus" is yet another fantastic 1950's nude spread.
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Format: Hardcover
When I buy a book of an artist work I'm buying it for his artwork not his biography. Sure some background info is a good thing but I would have rather seen more of his work. If I want his biography I'll go buy it but I'm more interested in the pin-up art. The works that are represented are nice but far from definitive of his decades of art. If I had to do it all over again I'd buy the book but for 10 dollars cheaper, because I wanted art not text... and so 3 stars
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and reading about Alberto Vargas, his work, his relationships with his publisher(s) and his wife. The man was an amazing talent. The size of these illustrations were incredible, sorry to see a seam going down the middle ... If I could I'd take them out and hang them in poster frames!

I wish there were even more drawings to enjoy.
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Great book. Lots of history about Alberto Vargas and his continued struggle to make it in the art world. Well he did make it and how.
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Format: Hardcover
Now, I'm not an afficionado of studies of the female form. I'm also not a professional book reviewer or artist. I'm just a person who enjoys beauty - in many forms.

My wife and I both appreciate Vargas' art and have bought one or two small, cheaper pieces for decoration. Having done that - and with Christmas coming - I thought it would be a good idea to buy this book. This was one of my better decisions.

Oh, some may carp about the size and selection of the images and some may reference other Vargas collections that are somehow 'better'. Me, I'm simply delighted with my purchase.

This book traces Vargas over many years and delivers his most delightful art on every page. Apart from the sheer beauty of his fantasies/studies, the book is interesting for the changes in style apparent as Vargas drew beauty over decades - but that's a small point.

The larger point is that this is a richly-produced visual delight that will be looked-at often on our house. I think I spent my money wisely.
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This book is a compilation of the life and work from alberto Vargas.

Very big edition, well written, and with a reasonable price. Sadly, it could have included more of his artwork; but at this moment is the best and biggest compilation from his work that I have found.

Very good for a perfect gift or if you are a pin-up fan from the 30's to 70's
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The Max Vargas Collection is an excellent collection of his finest commercial works. The illistrations and the commentary offers excellent backgroung on his life and body of work. The only thing I found wanting was the large collection of Vargas art that invariably made it onto the noses of many warbirds in WW2 and Korea. There's little refernece to this.
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This is an amazing book. Initially, I had intended to just look at the pin-ups to gain inspiration for my photography. However, within moments of reading the text, I was completely gripped by the story of Alberto Vargas and his experiences with Esquire and Playboy magazines. For just the images alone, the book would rate 4 stars, but the wonderful biography pushes it over the edge into 5-star territory for me. There are plenty of images, including glamour nudes, so have no fear--the images are there and they are wonderful. Warning: buying this book will make you want to buy more books with pin-ups. This is a great starting point for pin-up images and for learning about Alberto Vargas, creator of the Varga Girl.
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