Born in New York City in 1904, Paul Cadmus has spent the past nine decades honing a singular, remarkably complex style of aesthetic idealization and social critique in justly celebrated paintings, drawings and etchings of nude figures, fantastical scenes and supercharged allegories. After abandoning a career in advertising, Cadmus studied fine art, traveled throughout Europe in the early 1930s, and returned to the U.S. as an employee of the Public Works of Art Project. When The Fleet's In!, his notoriously erotic painting of sailors on leave, was simultaneously rejected by the PWAP and embraced by critics and patrons, Cadmus was inspired to devote himself as a full-time artist, uniquely able to render mythological beauty and daily grime, homoerotic fever dreams and emotionally naked self-portraits. Throughout the ensuing decades, Cadmus' work has been exhibited internationally at major museums and galleries, earning controversy and reverence in equal measure. Now 93 years young, Cadmus lives and works in Weston, Connecticut with his partner, Jon Andersson. He is the subject of Paul Cadmus, a lavishly illustrated monograph by his brother-in-law, Lincoln Kirstein, and of Paul Cadmus: Enfant Terrible at 80, a 1984 film by David Sutherland.
Paul Cadmus' images courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York City.