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Chuck Close/Paul Cadmus: In Dialogue

April 5–June 22, 1997

The acquisition of Chuck Close's portrait Paul, painted in 1994, inspired the Museum to mount a small exhibition that would juxtapose Paul with paintings by Paul Cadmus. Cadmus--the subject of Close's portrait--is himself a celebrated American artist. Now 92, he first won notoriety in 1934, when Navy officials publicly condemned his painting The Fleet's In!, a satirical scene of sailors on leave. Since then, outside the spotlight of scandal, Cadmus has developed a mode of figurative painting astonishing in both its narrative invention and its exacting technique. This presentation features The Seven Deadly Sins, egg tempera paintings made between 1945 and 1949, plus an "eighth sin," Jealousy, painted in 1982-83. For three decades, Chuck Close (American, born 1940) has been making monumental paintings based on his own portrait photographs. During the 1990s, the precise marks of Close's earlier work have given way to free, lush passages of paint. His gridded units have loosened and expanded, forming a legible portrait only when the viewer backs away. Juxtaposing the work of two remarkable artists, this installation invites reflection on matters of figuration and abstraction, miniature and gigantism, calculation and imagination--conventional oppositions that appear not to be so purely opposite after all. The accompanying brochure features a conversation with Close and Cadmus that illuminates their association on both an artistic and a personal level.

Main Building


Ann Temkin

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