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Paul Cadmus (December 17, 1904 - December 12, 1999) was an American artist. He 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, a medium which had been associated with Greek icons.

In 1934 he painted The Fleet's In! while working for the Public Works of Art Project of the WPA. This painting, featuring carousing sailors, women, and a homosexual couple, was the subject of a public outcry and was removed from exhibition at the Corcoran Gallerymarker. The publicity helped to launch his career. 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.

Jon Anderson, who became Cadmus's longtime companion of 35 years, was a subject of many of his works.

In 1999 he died in his home in Weston, Connecticutmarker due to advanced age, just five days short of his 95th birthday.

Cadmus's sister, Fidelma, was the wife of philanthropist and arts patron Lincoln Kirstein.


  • "Gayness is not the raison d'ĂȘtre of my work."
  • "As an unknown artist at the time, I benefited from the censorship controversy -- and I am eternally grateful to that offended admiral."


List of works

The Fleet's In! by Paul Cadmus
  • The Fleet's In!, 1933, Navy Art Gallery, Washington Navy Yard
  • YMCA Locker Room, 1933
  • Shore Leave, 1933
  • Greenwich Village Cafeteria, 1934
  • Coney Island (oil painting), 1934, Los Angeles County Museum of Artmarker
  • Coney Island (etching), 1935, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  • Aspects of Suburban Life: Main Street, 1935, D.C. Moore Gallery
  • Aspects of Suburban Life: Golf, 1936, Virtual Museum of Canada
  • Sailors and Floozies, 1938, Whitney Museum of American Artmarker, New York City
  • Pocahontas and John Smith, 1938, Port Washington Post Office
  • Two Boys on a Beach #1, 1938, D.C. Moore Gallery
  • Bathers, 1939
  • Herrin Massacre, 1940
  • Aviator, 1941
  • The Shower, 1943
  • The Seven Deadly Sins, 1945-1949
  • What I Believe, 1947-1948, The Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas
  • Playground, 1948, Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
  • The Bath, 1951
  • Manikins, 1951
  • Bar Italia, 1953-55
  • Night in Bologna, 1958, Smithsonian American Art Museummarker, Washington, DC
  • Sunday Sun, 1958-1959
  • Male Nude, 1966, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Artmarker, Missouri
  • The Haircut, 1986
  • Final Study for the House that Jack Built, 1987, D.C. Moore Gallery
  • Me: 1940-1990, 1990, D.C. Moore Gallery
  • Jon Reading NM248, 1992, D.C. Moore Gallery
  • Jon Extracting a Splinter NM255, 1993, D.C. Moore Gallery

Biographical Works

  • Sutherland, David. Paul Cadmus, Enfant Terrible at 80. Documentary film, 1984.
  • Kirstein, Lincoln. Paul Cadmus, 1984.
  • The Drawings of Paul Cadmus. (Introduction by Guy Davenport).
  • Spring, Justin. Paul Cadmus: The Male Nude (New York: Universe, 2002)


  • Corcoran Gallery, Washington, DC, 1935
  • Midtown Galleries, New York, 1937
  • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1996
  • D.C. Moore Gallery, New York, 1996


  • Paul Cadmus' The Seven Deadly Sins, 1945-1949 seems to have been an influence on Andrew Kevin Walker and David Fincher's Se7en, especially the depiction of the gluttonous man having been starved to death, his punctured bowels overflowing with spaghetti.


External links

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