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Image of Study for "Horseplay"

Paul Cadmus , (Dec 17, 1904–Dec 12, 1999)

Study for "Horseplay"

c. 1935
9 in. x 4 1/2 in. (22.86 cm x 11.43 cm)

Medium and Support: Ink, ink wash, and graphite on paper
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Accession Number: 1941.50

Commentary

Paul Cadmus was known in the 1930s for his paintings, drawings, and prints depicting both the male nude and military and locker room scenes populated exclusively by men. His drawing of the body is crisp and precise and inspired by training rooted in the classicism of the Renaissance Old Masters. Horseplay is set in a place where men are reliably found undressed, giving Cadmus the chance to challenge the rarely violated American taboo against depictions of male nudity. He then subverts the theme of locker room camaraderie by introducing the sense of touch, both in the towel about the snap and the ambiguous position of the sitting figure’s left hand. In doing this, he suggests the visual and psychological distance between locker room antics and sexual foreplay is sometimes very short.

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