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Wells, Cady (1904-1954)  
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Between 1947 and 1951, Wells wintered in St. Croix, and engaged in two long-term affairs, his last with Fritz Peters, a writer who authored Finistère. a remarkable novel about homosexuality.

Wells's postwar paintings responded to the angst of the Atomic Age with references to barbed wire and the transformation of landforms into weapons, while others suggested prehistoric creatures, or the petroglyphs that mark the desert landscapes of the Southwest, reminders of the creativity and fragility of former civilizations.

Between 1947 and 1953 Wells gained a national reputation, and was included in important exhibitions in New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco, along with other members of the American avant-garde, including (now) much better known artists such as Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, Adolph Gottlieb, and Jackson Pollack.

Wells suffered a heart attack in the spring of 1953, and died of heart failure on November 5, 1954, ten days before his fiftieth birthday.

From 1933 to 1953, Wells was given 21 one-man exhibitions and he was included in 70 group exhibitions in every region of the country.

His works are in the collections of major museums throughout the U.S., including the Smithsonian, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the Whitney Museum of Art.

After his death, one of his closest friends, the arts entrepreneur Merle Armitage, wrote to Wells's father that Cady was the only modern artist who "got under the skin of New Mexico," expressing its history and culture with a truth that spoke significantly to both his place and his time.

Lois Rudnick

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Ganz, Earl. The Taos Truth Game. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006.

Rudnick, Lois, ed. Cady Wells and Southwestern Modernism. Exhibition catalogue. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, forthcoming 2010.


    Citation Information
    Author: Rudnick, Lois  
    Entry Title: Wells, Cady  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2008  
    Date Last Updated November 1, 2008  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2008 glbtq, Inc.  


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