A Finding Aid to the Alberto Vargas Papers, 1914-1985, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.vargalbe
Creators:
Vargas, Alberto, 1896-1982
Dates:
1914-1985
Languages:
Multiple languages
The collection is in English and Spanish. A journal is in German and French.
Physical Description:
0.8 Linear Feet
Repository:
The papers of illustrator Alberto Vargas measure 0.8 linear feet and date from 1914 to 1985. The collection is comprised of awards and certificates; beauty pageant judging records; correspondence; a diary from 1915; a notebook and poems; pencil drawings; clippings, magazines, music album covers, and artwork reproductions; and photographs of Vargas, his family, at work related events, and works of art.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of illustrator Alberto Vargas measure 0.8 linear feet and date from 1914 to 1985. The collection is comprised of awards and certificates; beauty pageant judging records; correspondence; a diary from 1915; a notebook and poems; pencil drawings; clippings, magazines, music album covers, and artwork reproductions; and photographs of Vargas, his family, at work related events, and works of art.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as one series.
  • Series 1: Alberto Vargas papers, 1914-1982 (Boxes 1-2, OVs 3-4; 0.8 linear feet)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Alberto Vargas (1896-1981) was an illustrator in Southern California. Vargas was born in Peru and studied in Switzerland. He moved to New York City in 1916, but did not reach prominence until he moved to Southern California in 1936, where he was employed to draw portraits for the major Hollywood studios. He later worked for Esquire Magazine and from the 1950s to the 1970s was a featured illustrator for Playboy. Vargas became famous for his illustrations of pin-up girls and his use of watercolor and airbrush combined. In 1974, Vargas's wife, Ana Mae, died. Her death affected him deeply and Vargas began working infrequently. In 1978, he published an autobiography that revived interest in his work. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Vargas illustrated music album covers for the band The Cars and Bernadette Peters. Vargas died in 1982.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Sarah Mundy in 2019.
Existence and Location of Copies
The collection is available on 35mm microfilm reel 4059 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of material described in the container inventory does not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
Author
Sarah Mundy
Sponsor
The processing of this collection received Federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Alberto Vargas papers were donated in 1986 by Astrid Conte, Vargas's niece.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Alberto Vargas papers, 1914-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Illustrators -- California -- Los Angeles Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hispanic American artists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/