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arts

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Cadmus, Paul (1904-1999)  
 
page: 1  2  

Cadmus's allegorical painting, which depicts such figures as Forster and Christopher Isherwood in Socratic poses, makes clear his intellectual allegiance to the humanism that Forster depicted as gravely threatened by fascism, as well as his own membership in the Forsterian aristocracy.

Cadmus's later works include a series of paintings inspired by Italian Renaissance masters. In these canvases, such as The Shower (1943) and Night in Bologna (1958), the artist illustrates the polymorphous nature of desire.

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In still other later works, such as The Bath (1951) and The Haircut (1986), Cadmus explores the joys of his long-term relationship with his partner and model, Jon Andersson. These paintings are particularly touching in their illustration of an entirely ordinary but rarely depicted subject: the domesticity of a same-sex couple.

Although the "magic realism" with which Cadmus was identified fell out of favor in the 1950s and Cadmus's reputation went into decline, near the end of his life there was a renewed interest in his work, sparked at least in part by the success of the gay and lesbian liberation movement, as well as by a resurgence of interest in representational art.

The revival of interest in Cadmus was given impetus by the first edition of Lincoln Kirstein's illustrated biography of the artist in 1984. In 1985, Cadmus's life and career was the subject of a PBS documentary, Paul Cadmus, Enfant Terrible at 80.

In 1989, The Drawings of Paul Cadmus, with an introduction by Guy Davenport, was published. In 1996, Cadmus had two exhibitions in New York, one at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the other at D.C. Moore Gallery.

Although he stopped painting towards the end of his life, Cadmus continued to draw at his home in Weston, Connecticut, particularly portraits and figure studies of Andersson, his favorite model and companion of 35 years.

Cadmus died on December 12, 1999, five days shy of his 95th birthday.

Ken Gonzales-Day

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   Related Entries
  
arts >> Overview:  American Art: Gay Male, 1900-1969

Prior to Stonewall, most gay artists were closeted, but they were inventive in creating codes for those in the know; after 1945 some adventurous artists developed independent networks for the distribution of works of gay art.

arts >> Overview:  Ballet

The enduring and persistent connection between ballet and male homosexuality is undeniable and may be related to the art's remarkably masculine provenance.

arts >> Overview:  Censorship in the Arts

Many gay and lesbian artists who have defied the legal and social prohibitions against explicit or sympathetic depictions of homosexuality have seen their art censored or suppressed.

arts >> Overview:  Contemporary Art

Contemporary Art, which designates new currents in art since 1970, is identified with postmodernism; during this period an art addressing gay and lesbian identity emerged.

arts >> Overview:  Erotic and Pornographic Art: Gay Male

Given the historic stigma around making, circulating, and possessing overtly homoerotic images, the visual arts have been especially important for providing a socially sanctioned arena for depicting the naked male body and suggesting homoerotic desire.

arts >> Overview:  Patronage II: The Western World since 1900

Patronage--the sponsorship of artists and the commissioning of works from them--has remained a significant factor in the creation of queer visual culture in the modern era.

arts >> Overview:  Photography: Gay Male, Pre-Stonewall

Although sparse in images documenting the gay community, pre-Stonewall gay male photography blurs the boundaries between art, erotica, and social history.

arts >> Overview:  Subjects of the Visual Arts: Bathing Scenes

A common theme in painting since the Renaissance, bathing scenes are often suffused with a distinctly homosexual atmosphere.

arts >> Overview:  Subjects of the Visual Arts: David and Jonathan

It is not surprising, since the Bible insists that David be looked at and admired, that he should emerge in Western art as the incarnation of male physical attractiveness, especially as rendered by Michelangelo.

arts >> Overview:  Subjects of the Visual Arts: Nude Males

Throughout much of history, the nude male figure was virtually the only subject that could be used to articulate homoerotic desire in publicly displayed works of art, as well as those works of art intended for private "consumption."

arts >> Overview:  Subjects of the Visual Arts: Sailors and Soldiers

Soldiers and sailors constitute a long-standing presence in gay male visual culture.

arts >> Overview:  Subjects of the Visual Arts: Sex Workers

Although art historians have given very little attention to representations of sex workers, images of same-sex prostitution extend far back into history.

arts >> Angus, Patrick

American realist artist Patrick Angus produced keenly observed and compassionate depictions of the gay underclass of the 1980s.

literature >> Forster, E. M.

One of the finest English novelists of the twentieth century and a tireless defender of humane values, Forster deserves a special place in the gay and lesbian literary heritage.

arts >> French, Jared

Dissatisfied with merely describing the material world, American painter Jared French devised a pictorial language to explore human unconsciousness and its relation to sexuality.

arts >> Harter, J. B.

Mississippi-born artist and museum curator J. B. Harter drew and painted throughout his life, but only began showing his homoerotic work soon before he was murdered.

arts >> Howe, Delmas

Prominent American artist Delmas Howe seeks to visualize gay history by linking the past with the present in intensely homoerotic, deceptively naturalistic paintings.

literature >> Isherwood, Christopher

A major Anglo-American novelist and a pioneer in the gay liberation movement, Christopher Isherwood created gay characters whose homosexuality is a simple given, an integral part of the wholeness of personality and an emblem of their common humanity.

arts >> Kirstein, Lincoln

Although best known for his contributions to the development of American ballet, Lincoln Kirstein was an important figure in the shaping of twentieth-century American culture generally.

arts >> Leonard, Michael

Britain's leading photorealist painter, Michael Leonard is accomplished in a number of genres, but his dominant subject is the nude male.

arts >> Lynes, George Platt

American photographer George Platt Lynes made his fame as a fashion and portrait photographer, but his greatest work may have been his dance images and male nudes.

literature >> Wescott, Glenway

American writer Glenway Wescott is author of a series of critically esteemed novels, but may be best known for his central position in New York's artistic and gay communities of the 1950s and 1960s.

arts >> Wheeler, Monroe

Publisher, book designer, and museum director, Monroe Wheeler was a leading figure in New York artistic and gay communities of the 1950s and 1960s, alongside his partner of sixty-eight years, the writer Glenway Wescott. 


    Bibliography
   

Cadmus, Paul, Margaret French and Jared French. Collaboration: The Photographs of Paul Cadmus, Margaret French, and Jared French. Sante Fe: Twelvetrees Press, 1992.

Glueck, Grace. "Paul Cadmus, A Mapplethorpe for His Time." The New York Times on the Web (June 7, 1996).

Leddick, David. Intimate Companions: A Triography of George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus, Lincoln Kirstein, and Their Circle. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000.

Weinberg, Jonathan. Speaking for Vice: Homosexuality in the Art of Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, and the First American Avant-Garde. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Gonzales-Day, Ken  
    Entry Title: Cadmus, Paul  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated July 4, 2005  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/cadmus_p.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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