Paul Cadmus & His Circle

Paul Cadmus is one of the most accomplished American artists of the 20th century, widely celebrated for his master draughtsmanship, a satiric sensibility and prolific collaborations with his contemporaries. 


 Maria Latasa Cadmus by Egbert Cadmus Fidelma Cadmus Kirstein

Egbert Cadmus, [Maria Latasa Cadmus], watercolor, 1909. Sold for $1,875. Fidelma Cadmus Kirstein, Self Portrait, colored pencil, 1930s. Sold for $5,000. 


Cadmus was surrounded by a community of artists from a young age. His mother, Maria Latasa, was a book illustrator, his father, Egbert, was a commercial lithographer and watercolorist, and his only sibling, Fidelma Cadmus Kirstein, was also an artist. His decision to leave public school at the tender age of 14 to pursue art was supported by his family and allowed him to continue cultivating his own creative community. 


Paul Cadmus, Two Studies of Jared French (Z 28), pen ink and pencil, circa 1935. 
Sold for $3,750.


After graduating from the National Academy of Design in 1926, Cadmus continued his artistic studies at the Art Students League where he met fellow artists Jared French, and later, George Tooker. In 1931, Cadmus and French made the joint decision to quit their commercial jobs and travel together on a formative trip to Europe, where they pursued their art full time. After nearly two years their meager savings pool dried up, and in October 1933 they returned to America.





PaJaMa, George Platt Lynes and Jared French, Fire Island, silver print, circa 1940. Sold for $4,750. Jared French, Paul Cadmus and Jose Martinez, Fire Island, silver print, 1939. Sold for $2,000.


Paul Cadmus, Two Boys on a Beach #1, etching, 1938. Sold for $5,500.


In 1937 on Fire Island, Paul, Jared and Margaret French forged a photographic collaboration they called PaJaMa, an amalgamation of the first two letters of each of their first names. The trio produced intimately posed photographs that detailed their relationships, both amongst themselves and within Fire Island's thriving artistic community. George Platt Lynes, a friend and well-known fashion photographer, often photographed them and encouraged their photographic pursuits.


Paul Cadmus, Venus and Adonis, egg tempera and oil on pressed wood, 1936. Sold for $245,000.


Paul Cadmus, Male Nude on an Upholstered Green Chair (NM 62), color crayons, circa 1967. 

Sold for $6,250.


Paul Cadmus met Jon Anderson, The Nantucket Man, fortuitously on Nantucket Island in 1964. From the pivotal moment when Jon began to model for Paul onward, Jon said Paul’s “production of satirical paintings slowed and his creation of intimate, sensuous paintings and drawings increased.” 


Paul Cadmus and Jon Anderson

Paul Cadmus & Jon Anderson 


"The best of times were the quiet days in our Weston home. These days could be filled with my modeling for Jon in the morning, working in the gardens or greenhouse in the afternoon while Paul began or finished a drawing or painting, early evenings Paul accompanying me while I sang. Rarely did a day go by when we did not read to each other." 

The two men remained lovers until Paul's death in December 1999, just five days shy of his 95th birthday. 

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