This exhibition represents 90 years of drawings by Paul Cadmus, the doyen of American art, who turns 94 this year and is still going strong. Amazingly, this is the first show ever devoted exclusively to the drawings that have always been central to Cadmus's work. The more than 60 examples on view range from childhood efforts to studies for the satirical and controversial paintings of the early '30s, such as The Fleet's In! which made him famous overnight, and recent nudes, mostly depicting his companion of more than three decades, the singer Jon Anderson. Also on display are rarely shown landscapes and nature studies, which demonstrate the combination of elegance and power that characterizes all of the artist's drawings.
Cadmus's drawing style is inspired by early Renaissance Italian painters. The refinement of Ingres and Prud'hon may also be found in the work. But while remaining true to meticulous craftsmanship, Cadmus never imposed limitations on his subject matter, the scope of which is always fresh and surprising. This show is an eloquent overview of the maestro's career, and will satisfy fans until the next full-scale Cadmus retrospective.
Paul Cadmus, "90 Years of Drawing," May 5-June 19, 1998, at DC Moore, 724 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10019.