Saturday, 17 December 2011

"I never tried to be controversial"


Polo Spill (1936)


Bar Italia (1956)

From The Body Politic by Steven Jenkins:
"In the gorgeous, occasionally garish, always gratifying works of the great American artist Paul Cadmus, sailors and sunbathers, models and mannequins, nitwits and nudes all are suffused with a sensuality born equally of idyllic splendor and urban squalor, natural grace and graceful artifice. Active since the 1930s as a renderer of pretty boys and ugly ploys, Cadmus spent many remarkable decades honing a singularly complex style of idealized sexuality and vivid displeasure in justly celebrated paintings, drawings and etchings of nude figures, fantastical scenes and supercharged allegories."

Finistere (1951)


The Bath (1951)

Paul Cadmus became infamous almost overnight when a major artistic scandal erupted over his risqué, and much publicised painting, The Fleet’s In in 1934.



From The Kings Galleries website:
"It aroused the anger and ire of US Navy top brass, not only for its depiction of the Navy but also its obvious sexual connotations that fed into the myth of naval life. Suspiciously it vanished for decades from the public view, only later to turn up in the possession of a deceased admiral. That painting, as well as many of Paul Cadmus‘s subsequent paintings and drawings, featured heroic tight muscled handsome young men, and Paul Cadmus was later recognized as one of the first contemporary American artists to chronicle what was later to be called “the gay lifestyle"."

What I Believe (1947)

"I never tried to be controversial. It just seems that people took it that way."

"As an unknown artist at the time, I benefited from the censorship controversy - and I am eternally grateful to that offended admiral."

"Gayness is not the raison d'être of my work."

"It seems that [according to the public] genitalia equal pornography. My penis is not the most important organ in my body. My eyes are."


Paul Cadmus (17th December 1904 – 12th December 1999)

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