PAUL CADMUS (1904-1999) AND JARED FRENCH (1905-1988) TWO AMERICAN GAY ARTISTS WHO DISPLAYED FIGURATIVE ART OF A HOMO-EROTIC CHARACTER DURING THE 1930’s AND 1940’s. SIMILIAR TO GEORGE TOOKER ANOTHER GAY ARTIST THEIR ART IN EGG TEMPERA REFLECTS THE TECHNIQUE KNOWN AS MAGIC REALISM.

220px-cadmus_paul_1904-1999_-_1937_-_foto_carl_van_vechten

105767_2112566

Paul Cadmus and Jared French were unusual  in that they competed with  Abstract Expressionism during this period in the United States, nevertheless their art was for a special defined market of Art Lovers. The use of Egg Tempera because of its quick drying technique was laborious and required concentrated and patient application.

Wikepedia  explains the importance of Paul Cadmus.

” (Paul Cadmus) His works combine elements of eroticism and social critique to produce a style often called Magic realism”. [1].

” Cadmus is ranked by artists trade union of Russia amongst the worlds best artists of the last 4 centuries”. [2].

Ann Lee Morgan in her Concise Oxford dictionary of American Art and Artists offers her interpretation of  Cadmus’s  artistic O’euvre.

” Known for meticulous rendered after satirical scenes of contemporary life he derived both his Technique and his interest in narrative themes from old Master paintings”. [3].

” With Jared French from 1931-33 he travelled to Europe and Majorca , subsequently employed by federal arts project WPA he produced murals as well as easel paintings including the controversial the Fleet’s In”.[4].

paulcadmusthefleetsin

001-paul-cadmus-theredlist

paulcadmus17_what-i-believe_1947

images-aul-cadmus

img-seeing-queer-1_101357799255_jpg_x_325x433_c

cadmus_6

cadmus

Morgan goes onto describe in detail some of the images Cadmus used to paint in Egg Tempera.

” The bawdy undignified atmosphere offended critics as did revealingly tight garments the obvious inebriation of some figures and the depiction of a homosexual pickup”. [5].

” Cadmus continued to contribute the American Scene movement with vigorously conceived scenes of Urban and suburban Life”.[6].

Morgan now describes when and how Cadmus starting using the egg tempera technique.

” In the 1940’s Cadmus began to work primarily with the painstaking technique of Egg Tempera which suited his interest in accumulated detail but also limited the number of paintings he could produce”. [7].

Morgan now explains the domination of pure abstraction at this time (Abstract expressionism) and how it dominated the art scene in New York.

” Abstract Expressionism’s domination of the critical discourse in New York marginalised his career but he continued to attract a small circle of admirers. Some of his work related to the magic realism of George Tooker (his gay friend)”. [8].

02418v

screenshot_2

untitledcad

007-jared-french-theredlist

jared-french1944women-and-boys

homocronicas%20-%20jared%20french%201941%20crew

jaredfrench_therope

127

paulcadmus08_aspects%20of%20suburban%20life%20golf_1936

Morgan offers her morality tone here by observing that Cadmus often used scenes of depravity.

” Cadmus’s frequent theme of human weakness and depravity ,figures dressed in the symbolic colours of lust , avarice and envy appear within a complexity ordered and dramatically lit space defined by decaying Renaissance architecture”. [9].

Morgan now moves onto discuss Jared French who as well as being a good friend of Cadmus was also his one time Lover. French’s work is different from Cadmus. Cadmus has his figures  animated and relating to one another .French on the other hand has his figures as automatons.

” Jared French , dislocation , irrational behaviour and inscrutability prevail in his enigmatic figurative works enacted by individuals who generally fail to connect with each other psychologically”.[10]

” His scenes emphasize loneliness and alienation. he is often identified as a significant practitioner of   Magic Realism (CF Hooker and Cadmus)”. [11].

” After returning to New York (from Europe Like Cadmus he was employed by the federal arts project WPA ) French simplified and smoothed the surfaces he depicted and began to emphasize pattern over spatial effects”.[12].

16351e887ca7845081a41d0e4da48622

tumblr_lnvgmied171qggdq1

elemental%20play%201946%201ac

figures%20on%20a%20beach%201940%201ac

Morgan continues to comment on Jared French and his use of Egg Tempera.

” In 1940 French switched from Oil paint to the more painstaking medium of tempera producing enamel like surfaces with the highly calculated quality of early renaissance pieces”. [13].

” These techniques enhanced the increasingly automaton like nature of his static and self absorbed  figures and emphasized the ritualised iconic quality of his compositions”.[14].

Morgan  continues to stress in her commentary the dislocated aspect of French’s figurative work.

” In the unsettling state park five figures on a seaside board walk seem isolated not only from each other but from an otherwise deserted vacation spot in which they find no pleasure”.[15].

” Particularly in such beach scenes French drew upon photographs he had taken since 1937 mostly at the shore on Fire Island where he vacationed for several years but also at Province town and Elsewhere”. [16].

2442335653_8469370c00

03a

summers%20ending%201939%201ac

46372786

tumblr_l6od4uabil1qzn0deo1_1280

seeing%20the%20new%20year%20in%201939%201ac

000090b7_medium

193b895d8a2942a2ac64c68032d0a2df

b7ea8fd6a60b49d3612e10090bddcfdf

exh_american-falls_main_480_8

Morgan finally explains the role of  Margaret (Wife to Jared French).

” Painter and etcher Margaret (French) and Cadmus also participated in staging and taking these artfully composed psychologically charged scenes of each other and their social circle”. [17].

This concludes my article on Jared French and Paul Cadmus two intriguing figurative artists who competed with the Abstract Expressionists as did Isabel Bishop , Reginald  Marsh and Ben Shahn , but French and Cadmus were out to shock and also to show how the technique of Egg Tempera  could highlight and improve a painting  with its sharpness and clarity.

FOOTNOTES

  1. https://wikepedia.org.wikipaulcadmus
  2. DITTO
  3. THE CONCISE OXFORD DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN ART AND ARTISTS:ANN LEE MORGAN.PG.70
  4. DITTO.PG.70
  5. DITTO.PG.70
  6. DITTO.PG.70
  7. DITTO.PG.70
  8. DITTO.PG.70
  9. DITTO.PG.70
  10. DITTO.PG.167-8
  11. DITTO.PG.168
  12. DITTO.PG.168
  13. DITTO.PG.168
  14. DITTO.PG.168
  15. DITTO.PG.168
  16. DITTO.PG.168
  17. DITTO.PG.168

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s