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Abstract

This paper examines the work of Paul Cadmus from 1930 to 1948. Over the span of nearly three decades, Cadmus's art evolved from covert depictions of queer culture to an explicit depiction of the politics of queerness in immediate postwar America. Cadmus’s legacy is unique because his art documents the shifting conceptualizations of gender and sexuality in the first half of the twentieth century. He is also notable because he so masterfully maneuvered the liminal space between private and public, painting subversive images immersed in covert queerness early in his career and later using queer art as a tool of political commentary.