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Sold at Auction: Paul Cadmus

PainterWater coloristWall painterEtcher


(b New York, New York, 1904; d Weston, Connecticut, 1999) American painter. Born in upper Manhattan, Paul Cadmus was the child of two professional artists. His father, Egbert, learned his trade as a watercolorist and lithographer from Robert Henri, while his mother, Maria, illustrated children's books. At fifteen, the young Cadmus enrolled for classes at the National Academy of Design. He continued his studies, refining his technique until 1928 when he became a commercial illustrator for the New York advertising firm, Blackman Company. By 1931 he had saved enough money to travel to Europe, where the painter Jared French and he made a bicycle tour of France and Spain, settling at the end in Mallorca for two years. It was on Mallorca that Cadmus painted his first mature work, "Self-portrait," 1932. Also from this period are his other early masterpieces, "Mallorcan Fishermen" and "Bicyclists.' Cadmus painted "The Fleet's In !" only two years later, and thereby initiated his reputation as an "enfant terrible'. The Public Works of Art Project commissioned the work for its 1934 exhibition, but the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Henry Latrobe Roosevelt, demanded its removal, claiming it was a perverse defamation of his armed service. Most of Cadmus’ other early American masterpieces, like "Herrin Massacre" and " Hinky Dinky Parley Voo" met with similar opposition and acquired equal celebrity. Cadmus was the recipient of numerous honors. In 1974 he was elected to the American Institute of Arts and Letters and in 1979 to the National Academy of Design. In 1981 three museums organized his first retrospective. (Credit: Christie’s, New York, Important American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture of the 20th Century, December 1, 1989, lot 134)
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