Cadmus, Paul

Cadmus, Paul,

1904–99, American painter, b. N.Y.C.; studied National Academy of Design (1919–26), Art Students' League (1928). From 1933–35 he and painter Jared French traveled to Europe, where he learned the egg-tempera technique later used in many of his paintings. A figurative artist, he painted in a vivid style sometimes dubbed magic realism. Cadmus first came to wide public attention when his painting The Fleet's In (1934), an illustrationlike frieze of lubricious sailors flirting with prostitutes and a gay man, was removed from a Corcoran Gallery exhibition by a U.S. Navy admiral who found the work "depraved." Thereafter, crowds flocked to his exhibitions. Cadmus became known for lively group scenes, often sexually-charged or homoerotic, and for tranquil portraits, often of male nudes. Among his best-known works are Coney Island (1934), Sailors and Floosies (1938), and the Seven Deadly Sins series (1945–49). Cadmus also designed sets and costumes for the ballet Filling Station (1938), directed by his brother-in-law, Lincoln KirsteinKirstein, Lincoln
, 1907–96, American dance and theater executive and writer, b. Rochester, N.Y. One of the most significant figures in 20th cent. American ballet, Kirstein was cofounder of the American Ballet and the School of the American Ballet in 1934 and of Ballet
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, and was known for his drawings, prints, and photographs.


See U. E. Johnson, Paul Cadmus: Prints and Drawings (1968); P. Eliasoph, Paul Cadmus, Yesterday and Today (1981); L. Kirstein, Paul Cadmus (1984, rev. 1992, rep. 1996); G. Davenport, The Drawings of Paul Cadmus (1989); D. Leddick, Intimate Companions: A Triography of George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus, Lincoln Kirstein, and Their Circle (2000).

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Cadmus, Paul

(1904–  ) painter; born in New York City. Based in Weston, Conn., he was a provocative artist who combined wit and social protest. His most famous (and notorious) paintings are The Fleet's In (1934), and Fantasia on a Theme by Dr. S. (1946).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.