Study of a Reclining Young Woman, 1970
© Alberto Vargas/Max Vargas Estate

Study of a Reclining Young Woman, 1970

By Alberto Vargas
About the image

This is an original colored pencil drawing on tracing paper which served as the basis for the final design that appeared in the August, 1970 issue of Playboy Magazine. This image captures a cheerful young woman in a light blue bathing suit, laying on her back saluting.  Even though this piece was ultimately published in Playboy Magazine in 1970, it bears many of the trademarks of Vargas' WWII Pin Ups, and is very likely to have been an earlier drawing that he re-purposed for this period. 

It features hand-written notes by Playboy Art Director Reid Austin.

The many hand-written notes on this piece bear witness to the fact that the final artwork has substanital differences from the drawing, that serve to update the overall look to appeal to a more current, 1970s reader. In the final version the Vargas Girl is wearing only a bright orange bikini-bottoms and is adjusting a pair of large, funky glasses - instead of saluting the troops! 

This is just one of the many ways these drawings provide an incredible glimpse into the process of creating these finished works and how they keenly represent the times of which they were a part.

Collector's Notes:
This is a preliminary drawing used to propose a new Vargas Girl for an upcoming edition of Playboy Magazine.  

For each published piece, Vargas would first sketch a preliminary design such as this one for approval. He would ship several to Playboy's main offices where Hugh Hefner and the Art Directors would review each one. Once approved, they would be returned to Vargas and he would then use them to create an entirely new finished artwork for use in the magazine.  

Although these drawings are not typically signed - as they are working designs rather than finished pieces - they do often feature handwriting from Alberto Vargas and/or notes from Playboy's Art Directors (Art Paul or Reid Austin) regarding colors, accessories, positioning etc. Occasionally Hugh Hefner has personally initialed and dated the piece, giving his final approval for the magazine.

These drawings are magnificent artifacts from the process of publishing the legendary Vargas Girl.

Ref# SK-449

22" x 30" Artwork Size
Pencil & colored pencil drawing
Original artwork - 

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Study of a Reclining Young Woman, 1970
Study of a Reclining Young Woman, 1970

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