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Vargas In Boston

Posted by Jim Botticelli  October 28, 2013 06:08 PM

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Painting by Alberto Vargas
Photo by Jim Botticelli

It sits over the bar inside the Intermission Lounge right next to the Theater District. Once a seedy stop off on the way to the Zone, the Intermission has evolved into a respectable place to top a night of theater with a cocktail and a bite. Having a Vargas over the bar adds zest to the otherwise not terribly remarkable lounge. The painting is actually framed but we cropped it a bit due to flash interference. We can't attest to its absolute originality but it is not small and it certainly appears to have been there a long while. The bartender on duty did not know when the painting arrived.

Alberto Vargas, a Peruvian by birth, studied art in Zurich and Geneva, and while there was impressed with the magazine La Vie Parisienne. In the 1940's he became known as the painter of the iconic "Vargas Girls", a series of fantasy pinups that appeared in Esquire magazine and became popular with G.I.'s overseas. Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, a previous employee of Esquire, told of how Vargas' work was challenged by the U.S. Post Office who refused to mail the magazine due to the Vargas drawings within. Hefner started Playboy soon afterward and by the 1960's Alberto Vargas was again a busy artist with shows all over the world. His wife's death in 1974 devastated him and he stopped painting. She was not only his wife, but his model and business manager as well. His autobiography came out in 1978 and he came out of his self-imposed retirement to do Dirty Old Boston a solid. He designed the cover for The Cars 1979 album Candy-O.

Thanks to the Intermission Lounge and Wikipedia for content

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About the author

Jim Botticelli, a 1976 Northeastern University graduate, is a retired Boston Public Schools teacher. In college, he drove a cab and learned the city's cow paths. An avid collector of More »

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