Born in 1904 in New York City, Paul Cadmus attended the National Academy of Design in 1926 and the Art Students' League in 1928. In 1933 he traveled through Italy with painter Jared French where he learned the technique of egg tempera combined with oil.
He first gained wide public attention when his painting “The Fleets In” was removed from a Corcoran Gallery exhibition by a U.S. Navy admiral who found the work “depraved” for it’s sexually charged and homoerotic themes. His prints, much like his better-known paintings, explore the city and its mobs.
Among his most recognized works are “Coney Island” (1934), “Sailors and Floosies” (1938), and the “Seven Deadly Sins” series (1945-1949). Cadmus also designed costumes and sets for the ballet, “Filling Station” which was directed by his brother-in-law, Lincoln Kirstein. He participated in numerous exhibitions including “Paul Cadmus- A Closer Look” at the Jonathan Edwards College at Yale University in 1997 and “The American Century 1900- 1950” at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York in 1999.