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Varga Pin-up
Armed Forces History, Division of History of Technology, National Museum of American History

Varga Pin-up

Date: 1942
Credit: Armed Forces History, Division of History of Technology, National Museum of American History

Maker

Alberto Vargas (Artist)

In 1919, Alberto Vargas embarked upon an artistic career that would span more than six decades. Starting as the official painter for the Ziegfeld Follies, Vargas quickly earned a reputation as a brilliant artist, particularly for his ability to capture the radiant beauty of American women.

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 17.5" H x 14" W

Physical Description

Printed magazine page.

Specific History

This image, entitled “Peace, It’s Wonderful,” by Vargas, Esquire Magazine April, 1943

General History

The Varga Girls were a favorite of soldiers during World War II. Popularized on the pages of Esquire Magazine, the Varga Girls hung next to photos of moms, wives and even Franklin Roosevelt. The popularity of the pinups led Bob Hope to remark, "Our troops are ready to fight at the drop of an Esquire." The image of the Varga girl was used to adorn the noses of fighter planes in much the same way the image of woman often adorned the prow of a ship. Unlike the pinup girls before her, the Varga Girl was not content to be simply a pretty face. She helped mold contemporary female identity. She joined the WAVES, the WAACs and the War Bond effort and provided a model for women to develop a new image, one that was feminine and increasingly aware of her own power and potential on both personal and political levels.


Keywords

War: World War II
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