WWII Artist – Pinup Calendar Guru Lou Varro – Pinup Art Photography


I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to acquire a few photographs from the estate of the venerated Lou Varro, the best known WWII pinup calendar artist in the MTO during WWII.  Lou is well known for his small-print monthly pinup calendars that would be posted in B-24 and B-17 bombers during missions in Italy.  I’ve seen a handful of his calendars during my time collecting WWII photography and am happy to have acquired a few photos of the artist.  I also snagged an original Varro December 1944 “topless” calendar page.

Lou Varro

Lou Varro

Lou’s most popular subject was attractive women from his hometown.  Although the subject of the portrait is currently unknown, we do know that this photo made the news in Lou’s hometown of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada in 1944.  I would love to track down the article, it apparently featured Lou and his exploits during his service with a B-24 bomb group during WWII.  See below for the photo that “made the article.”

Lou Varro in 1944

Lou Varro in 1944

Reverse Side

Reverse Side

The woman featured in the above sketch can clearly be seen in a shot of Lou’s bunk taken shortly thereafter.  His calendar obsession can be seen in the image……. what a great glimpse into the everyday life of a bomb group EM.

Lou's Room January 1945 - Italy

Lou’s Room January 1945 – Italy

Lou passed away a few years ago, but had a lot to say about his wartime art career:

“Soon after, he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps and served in World War II as a non-commissioned officer. While stationed in southern Italy, he worked as a processor for films that came off bomber planes after they were sent for an attack. Here, he found another opportunity to work as an artist.”

I dabbled in photography, but my specialty then was calendars,” Varro said.

(from the above linked article) Varro would use his spare time in the photography lab — an old barn that had been converted for military use — to make calendars for his fellow servicemen.

“I would find a picture of a pretty girl, make a couple of them and give them away for the guys to put in their planes or their huts,” he said. “A lot of guys knew and liked me for that.”

This is a continual post and will be updated as more material and information is added to the PortraitsofWar collection.

One of Varro’s famous WWII pinup calendars.  Most of his models were taken from previously exiting “nudie magazines” and retrofitted into calendars.  Please enjoy Miss December, 1944!

Miss December 1944

Miss December 1944

Digitized 10th Mountain Division Unit History: Mountaineers


I’m starting a new thread here on PortraitsofWar in which I plan to post scanned versions of popular divisional, regimental, and company histories.  I have access to 98% of all published WWI and WWII unit histories and can field most requests given adequate time.  I’m starting with one of my favorite WWII units, the 10th Mountain Division.  I personally own a copy of this history, but I’m posting a link to the Bangor (Maine) Digital Commons page with a PDF download of the book available.  Enjoy!

 

Here’s the details on the book (from the Bangor Library website listed below):

 

Description

It was Washington, D.C., July 15, 1943. At the War Department it was noted that a new division was being ac­tivated as of that date – the 10th Light Division. Out in Colorado the usual afternoon cloudburst broke loose as the journal clerk recorded the fact that the division had been officially activated. A month later there was a formal oc­casion; Pando, Colorado witnessed the parade and cere­monies honoring the birth of the Tenth. Major General Lloyd E. Jones reviewed the troops.

 The cover art was done by Jacques Parker, a MG squad leader and artist in C Co., 86th Mountain Infantry Regiment.  To hear an audio recording of Mr. Parker recorded in Telluride, CO in 2009 check out this site: http://www.tellurideinside.com/2009/07/10th-mountain-veteran-jaques-parker-in-telluride.html
Jacques Parker Photo By: Clint Viebrock

Jacques Parker
Photo By: Clint Viebrock

Mountaineers Cover Art

Mountaineers Cover Art

To download a PDF copy of this unit history, please click here

Publication Date

1950

Keywords

United States Army Mountain Division 10th World War 1939-1945 Regimental histories United States 10th Division World War, 1939-1945 Campaigns Italy

Disciplines

Military History