Vargas Girls: From WWII Cheesecake To The Cars' 'Candy-O'

By Cyn Felthousen-Post
Sources: (Pinterest; Wikimedia Commons)

Early in the 20th century, an American visual style was invented by the Peruvian-born artist Alberto Vargas. The "Vargas Girls" he painted, as they were later known, appeared in magazines, advertisements, and calendars, and on posters and airplanes -- and for all he painted, infinitely more were created by others working in Vargas-inspired style. Vargas wasn't the only pin-up artist -- George Petty and Gil Elvgren deserve mention as well -- but the Vargas Girl brand he created has endured as the highest example of the genre. Vargas Girls became a staple of Esquire and later appeared in Playboy on a monthly basis.