Paul Cadmus

Fleet's In
© 2017 Paul Cadmus

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(1905-1999) Figurative and satirical American artist Paul Cadmus first gained fame -- and notoriety -- with his Depression-era "The Fleet's In," a painting roundly denounced by a Navy official as the depiction of "a disreputable drunken brawl" by an artist with a "sordid, depraved imagination."

A similar painting, "Sailors and Floozies," stirred up another ruckus when it was exhibited in San Francisco. Other painings -- "Coney Island," (on display at the LACMA) "Subway Symphony," "Venus and Adonis," "Seven Deadly Sins" and "Herrin Massacre," which depicted the slaughter of strike-breaking miners -- helped solidify Cadmus' reputation as the Robert Mapplethorpe of his era.

The term "magic realism," a phrase coined in the 1940s to describe meticulous style coupled with fantastic or even surreal narration, was often used to describe Cadmus' painings, which also smacked of Old Masters Renaissance revisionism.
Studios of Paul Cadmus

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