Paul Cadmus


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(b New York, 17 Dec. 1904; d Weston, Conn., 12 Dec. 1999).

American painter and draughtsman. He painted with an extremely meticulous technique, usually in egg tempera, and often used the poses and compositional techniques of the Old Masters. However, his subjects were taken from modern American life, on which he commented pungently and satirically. This sometimes led to scandal, as with the work that established his reputation, The Fleet's In! (1934, Naval Historical Center, Washington), portraying sailors on shore leave: it was described by the Secretary of the Navy as ‘a most disgraceful, sordid, disreputable, drunken brawl, wherein apparently a number of enlisted men are consorting with a party of streetwalkers and denizens of the red-light district’. Because Cadmus worked very slowly his output as a painter was small, but he was a comparatively prolific draughtsman: ‘drawings are more saleable than paintings’, he wrote; ‘they're less expensive.’

Subjects: Art.

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