Feb 04, 2021 - Sale 2557

Sale 2557 - Lot 114

Price Realized: $ 2,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500

PAUL CADMUS (1904-1999)

Tenements, New York.
Lithograph. 283x225 mm; 11 1/8x8 3/4 inches, full margins (sheet). One of only several proofs. Signed in pencil, lower right. Circa 1928-30.

We have not found another impression at auction in the past 30 years. Davenport 30.

Cadmus' works for the Works Progress Administration have frequently been envoked in the debate of censorship. Cadmus' tempera on canvas Fleets In!, 1934 for the Public Works of Art Project depicted carousing U.S. sailors on shore leave. Aspects of Suburban Life, 1936 was a series of studies for a Port Washington, Long Island post office mural commissioned by the Treasury Relief Art Project. The project was never realized as it showed affluent Long Islanders in a negative light and insinuated an obvious and growing class divide. Both Cadmus and Jared French (1905-1988) each received mural commissions for the lobby of the Parcel Post Building in Richmond, Virginia, completed in 1939. Cadmus' mural Pocahontas Saving the Life of John Smith was retouched by the artist when it was noticed that one of the Powhatan men's breechcloth fox heads resembled a phallus. The debate over public censorship continues when discussing Cadmus' legacy. In a 1992 New York Times article, the artist's works were still criticized, "For its money, the W.P.A. got several subversive works from Cadmus..."