THEMES : ALBERTO VARGAS ~ Pete Davies
Alberto Vargas is now recognised as one of the greatest early modern glamour artists, although in truth some of his work originates from both the Second World War and earlier. However, whilst the Golden Age catalogues continue to ignore his work, and little is known of his earlier work, he will continue to be labelled as an early modern artist. Both Art Unlimited and Classico spell his name as Varga, but the earlier publishers, and early newspaper articles place an 's' on the end.
Picture Postcard Monthly has two articles about the artist (May 1997 and May 1998). Both articles contain information about his life, and partial checklists, but again help is need to fill in the gaps.
Tale of Two Citie published jointly in Chicago and Los Angeles in 1979. There are believed to be six cards in the series, but to date I have seen only two designs. One design is sepia 'Yearning by Vargas', and the second has a slight colour tint with some colouring of the flowers. This second card is called 'World War 11 by Vargas'. Both cards are reasonably scarce, but I do have a few copies at £5 each. The quality of the card is only fair, and they have a slight matt finish. My cards originated from the USA and Canada.
Raphael Tuck & Sons Ltd, published in Britain sometime in the 1950's. These are genuinely scarce cards, and I believe there are 10-12 cards in the set; to date I have 10 examples. All the cards are printed on high quality card and are embossed, but there are no numbers or indications of titles. Some of the designs are definitely from the famous Esquire Girls, but many I have never seen before. The cards are probably priced in the £10-£12 range, but in all honesty they could be worth a great deal more.
Carte Postale , France. The publisher is unknown, and it is generally believed that these are pirate issues and published without the permission of the Hearst Corporation who demand a high fee for using the work of Alberto Vargas. The cards are numbered ROPC plus a number, and titled. I have seen two cards from this series, both coloured on highly glossed card:-
There are obviously more cards in the series, but not as many as the gaps in the numbering would appear to suggest. Cards are in a limited edition of 100, and numbered. I have no means of verifying whether these numbers are an accurate reflection. prices vary enormously from £1-£3. The source of these cards is unknown, but I bought both my examples at the 1997 Picture Postcard Show from French dealers.
Art Unlimited , Amsterdam. Dutch publisher of 51 cards C6943-6993, priced 50-75p. The cards are taken from the famous Esquire Girls collection, however non of the cards carries a title or caption, merely the following information on the reverse, and the artist's signature on the front.
'Esquire Girls /@ The Hearst Corporation. All Rights Reserved/ Reproduction prohibited'
plus the Art Unlimited C number.
Classico International , San Francisco. American publisher of 21 cards, numbered 545-001-
545-021 and priced in the range 50-75p. Again all the designs are from the Hearst Corporation, and all are presumed to be from the Esquire Girls collection. Eleven of the designs are the same as those found in the Art Unlimited collection. Details of these cards are given in Picture Postcard Monthly May 1997.