Paul Cadmus

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Through his paintings and figure drawings Paul Cadmus depicted satirical scenes of debauchery and homoeroticism, drawing attention to same-sex relationships in ordinary daily life.Cadmus’s style, which blended Renaissance and neoclassical aesthetics with exaggeration, was referred to as magical realism, though he himself did not use the term. His government-commissioned image of two sailors flirting with each other, even while surrounded by heterosexual couples, was removed from its display after complaints were submitted, making it the first in a series of attention-drawing censorship disputes; sarcastic takes on class relations and Coney Island beach goers followed to similar controversy. On occasion he did paint serious pieces such as What I Believe, which depicted the positive role art Cadmus saw it playing in the future; later in life he dropped painting altogether and concentrated on charcoal figure studies of naked men.

 

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