Sunday, November 4, 2012

Out Spotlight

Today's Out Spotlight was one of the first openly gay artists. He is best known for his homoerotic paintings and drawings of nude male figures.
Today's Out Spotlight is artist Paul Cadmus.

Paul Cadmus was born December 17, 1904, in New York City in what he called “a horrible tenement.” His father was a commercial artist and his mother illustrated children’s books. Cadmus dropped out of high school to enroll at the National Academy of Design, where he spent six years as an outstanding student. After two years at the Arts Student League of New York City, he worked as an illustrator in publishing and advertising.

Cadmus is best known for his paintings and drawings of nude male figures. His works combined elements of eroticism and social critique to produce a style often called magic realism. He painted with egg tempera.

In the 1930’s, he worked for the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), a post-Depression government project. He created paintings for a planned PWAP exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.  In 1934 he painted The Fleet's In! . The painting, featured carousing sailors, women, a homosexual couple and a sailor flirting with a civilian man.  The painting was the subject of  public outcry, causing the Navy to remove from exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery. 

The publicity helped to launch his career. The scandal brought the artist national attention.  He worked in commercial illustration as well, but Jared French, another tempera artist who befriended him and became his lover for a time, convinced him to devote himself completely to fine art. His subsequent work continued to push the envelope with naked and muscled male physiques. Cadmus became recognized as one of the first contemporary artists to chronicle gay life. Despite his success, museums rejected his work because of its gay themes.

In an interview with the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art, Cadmus quoted the French artist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres: “People say my paintings are not right for the times. Can I help it if the times are wrong?” Now in the permanent collection of The Navy Art Gallery in Washington, “The Fleet’s In” is among the most popular attractions.

In 1999, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Equality Forum honored Cadmus with the International Arts Award. He called it his most prized award and the first time the gay community officially acknowledged his contribution.
Cadmus had a 35-year relationship with Jon Andersson, the subject of many of his works.
 In 1999 he died in his home in Weston, Connecticut due to advanced age, just five days short of his 95th birthday.
 “It wasn’t much of a problem being gay, but one was secretive. You could get into trouble.”



Cloud 9 said...

What an interesting Spotlight -

OwlGirl said...


End of Watch got a nice shout out on WBUR's On Point today as one of the few great cinematic features of the year. The guest was The New Yorker’s David Denby on the future life – or death – of the movies.

Special, I have always wondered about your music plugin. Are you playing your own mp3s or is there a service for this for blogs?

OwlGirl said...

Is there anywhere online to watch episodes of JFC? Haven't been able to find it.

jfaulkin said...

HI, New here but what a great spotlight. Glad to know he stuck to who he was and not hide.

Special K said...


Well right now I am not playing much of anything since I have been having issues the file storage and the player, but all the music is my own stuff.

As for the JFC episodes. If you have On Demand and an HBO subscription sometimes you can catch them there. You might also want to check HBO's website, or the HBO To Go ap

Seaweed said...

I did a google search for Paul Cadmus and was amazed with the volume of his work. Quite an incredible story and another great Out Spotlight as always...

Has anyone else been watching the Partner's sitcom that Sophia Bush is in? I've seen them all so far and was not going to be easily convinced... and yet somehow, I'm getting a bit of a kick out of this silly 30 minutes. Especially love to see Brandon Routh, they were playing with his connection to Superman on tonight's episode. Dude is just gorgeous!

What do you folks think?