Description

    ALBERTO VARGAS (1896-1982)
    Original Pin-Up Art
    American Fantasy, 1953
    Watercolor on paper
    29in. x 20in. (sight size)
    Signed and dated lower right: Vargas, 1953

    Feast your eyes on this sensational package! Here she is -- American Fantasy, the very first Vargas girl ever to appear in the pages of Playboy, and as the saying goes, you never forget your first time! The March, 1957 issue of Playboy featured Jon Campbell's ground-breaking pictorial, "The Vargas Girl." The spread opened with a large reproduction of American Fantasy, and it was a delicious taste of the "cheesecake" yet to come; reader response was so enthusiastic that starting with its September, 1960 issue, Playboy commissioned Vargas to produce a masterwork for each issue. Quoting from Campbell's paean, "The Forties belonged to Vargas and his Vargas Girl -- and we'll concede the Fifties too, if pressed. The Vargas Girl possesses something more than the sum of her perky parts; she is Anatomical Perfection, put together in a way certain to set the most unfeeling amongst us aquiver and amumbling in our Martinis." Indeed, Playboy had officially appointed Vargas its "High Priest of Va-Va-Voom."

    The sensual, tactile qualities of the airbrush painting technique were showcased at their most perfect in American Fantasy. Pure color was applied as a fine mist, and the hues were carefully built up, even as forms were delicately modeled. The see-through, sheer fabric of the American Fantasy's negligee made her especially sultry and glamorous, in a most teasing manner, and her auburn hair glowed invitingly with its lustrous sheen. As Ray Bradbury noted in The Art of Playboy, for the U.S. male, Alberto Vargas often ran fevers with his selection of bonbons and midnight truffles. Ray quipped, "I don't know if this is what G.I. Joe was fighting for, but -- forgive me, ladies -- it was better than apple pie."

    In addition to a copy of the historic March, 1957 issue of Playboy, this lot also includes a copy of Laff the Humorous Picture Magazine dated December, 1950, with its cover-touted, three-page pictorial entitled "Varga Girl." On page twenty-two of the article Alberto Vargas demonstrates to model Harlene Whitlock a sultry pose he wishes her to assume, and it's the very one he used for American Fantasy. Accompanying the magazine is a vintage 7.5in. x 9.5in. black and white print of the photograph used in the article. The captions in Laff read, "We prefer Harlene's legs. How about you?" and "Varga's quick eye for curves -- plus hard work -- resulted in fame, fortune, and femmes." American Fantasy was also showcased as the album cover of Bedside Companion for Playboys from Omega records, and the album is also included in this lot. Thus, the ultra-cool piano jazz of the Dick Marx combo can serve as a soundtrack to your original art. This spectacular lot offers an unparalleled collectibles smorgasbord of Vargas treats!


    Condition Report*:

    Condition report available upon request.

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Framed (view shipping information)

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2004
    29th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 11,020

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