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Paul Cadmus
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Artist
    (December 17, 1904-December 12, 1999)
    Born in Manhattan, New York
    Paintings include ‘Shore Leave’ (1933), ‘The Fleet’s In!’ (1934), ‘Gilding the Acrobats’ (1935), ‘Aspects of Suburban Life’ (1935-36), ‘Sailors and Floozies’ (1938), ‘The Shower’ (1943), ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’ (1945-49), ‘What I Believe’ (1947-48), ‘The Bath’ (1951), ‘Sunday Sun’ (1958-59), ‘Subway Symphony’ (1975-76) and ‘The Haircut’ (1986)
    For his first one-man show, he published a credo declaring that his art was meant to convey humanity’s ‘destructive malignity.’
    His WPA (Works Progress Administration) funded painting ‘The Fleet’s In!’ – with its depiction of drunken sailors picking up loose women (and one being picked up by an effeminate-looking man) – stirred up such a public outcry that it was ordered removed from display by the Assistant Secretary of the Navy.
    He explained his predilection for male nudes by claiming, ‘Women don’t generally pose as well as men. They have a tendency to faint.’
    He hated being referred to as a gay artist: ‘Gayness is not the raison d’être of my work.’
    Growing up, he suffered rickets from a vitamin deficiency.
    He said of the critic of ‘The Fleet’s In,’ ‘They should take a stroll along the drive at night when the fleet’s in port.’
    He also noted, ‘As an unknown artist at the time, I benefited from the censorship controversy – and I am eternally grateful to that offended admiral.’
    ’The Fleet’s In!’ inspired the Jerome Robbins ballet ‘Fancy Free.’

Credit: C. Fishel


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