Shore Leave

Shore Leave


Paul Cadmus

(American, 1904–1999)


Platemark: 26.4 x 29.2 cm (10 3/8 x 11 1/2 in.); Sheet: 32.4 x 39.9 cm (12 3/4 x 15 11/16 in.)

Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland 1936.24

Catalogue raisonné: Davenport 40


Did you know?

A painting related to this print made by Cadmus in 1934 was removed from an exhibition after causing an uproar among U.S. military officials who deemed it indecent.


This representation of sailors on shore leave with their dates in a city park is anything but innocent. Like urban crowd scenes made by his teacher, Reginald Marsh, Paul Cadmus’s pyramidal composition and voluptuous body types refer to late Renaissance paintings. But the protagonists’ exaggerated bosoms and buttocks, outrageously tight clothes, and uncontained movements also indicate their unbound sexuality. The image includes an oblique reference to homosexuality, signaled by the subtle exchange in the background between a soldier and a well-dressed civilian man. Cadmus’s mixture of satire and idealization enabled him to depict homoeroticism at a time when it was otherwise invisible within American art.

See also
PR - Etching
Type of artwork: 

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