- Carol E. Holstead
Vargas, Alberto (09 February 1896–30 December 1982), painter and illustrator, was born Joaquin Alberto Vargas y Chavez in Arequipa, Peru, the son of Max Vargas, a photographer, and Margarita (maiden name unknown). Vargas was inspired early on by the paintings of Jean-Dominique Ingres and by Raphael Kirchner’s watercolor magazine illustrations of women, which he encountered in Paris in 1911 on his way to Switzerland to attend school. Vargas apprenticed as a photographer with the Julien Studios in Geneva and Sarony Court Photographers in London. After a year at the Julien Studios, the war forced Vargas to leave Europe. Instead of returning home to Peru, he went to New York. He never received formal training as a painter; he learned the airbrush techniques that later made his work famous by retouching photos in his father’s studio in Peru. He taught himself to use media such as pen and ink, watercolors, oils, and pastels....