April 29, 2020

Paul Cadmus and His Circle: Property from the Estate of Jon F. Anderson

Charlene Wang, Lark Mason Associates

Consisting primarily of three great American artists’ estates – Paul Cadmus, Jared French, and Margaret Hoening French, the auction of the Estate of Jon F. Anderson, presented online by Lark Mason Associates, contains over 400 works of art available for bidding on www.iGavelAuctions.com from April 28th through May 19th, 2020. The sale includes works by artists Paul Cadmus, Jared French, and Margaret Hoening French, and members of their circle: George Platt Lynes, Lincoln Kirstein, Fidelma Cadmus Kirstein, and Pavel Tchelitchew. The paintings, sculptures, photographs, and finished and preparatory drawings have been brought together for the first time in this auction. 

As a singer and actor himself, Jon F. Anderson was the muse and lover of Paul Cadmus for thirty-six years, and was the subject of many works by Cadmus. Paul Cadmus inherited the estates of Margaret Hoening French and Jared French, and when Cadmus passed away in 2009, his estate was left to Jon F. Anderson, who died in 2018.

Paul Cadmus was born in 1904 in New York City and is known as one of the greatest American realist artists of the 20th century. Cadmus achieved national notoriety in 1934 with his mural The Fleet's In!, a commission by the WPA that depicts drunk Navy sailors carousing with prostitutes. Cadmus worked in a classical aesthetic executed in a realistic style in egg tempera with social commentary, sometimes referred to as Magic Realism. He was celebrated for his skillful draftsmanship, daring often homoerotic subject matter. His circle of artists and intellectuals made him a critical figure in the New York art scene, shaping the sphere of 20th Century American art that separated from the European influenced Modernist movement.

The collection offered at auction encompasses a large amount of Cadmus’s drawings and preparatory works, and works by his artist parents, Egbert Cadmus and Maria Latasa Cadmus.

Jared French, whose works are in the sale, was another prominent yet enigmatic figure who embraced Magic Realism.  French, a talented and versatile artist worked in different media including egg tempera painting, drawing, print, photography, and sculpture. He and Cadmus met in the 1920s and soon after started a romantic relationship and traveled through Europe from 1931 to 1933. He, according Cadmus, was the one who convinced Cadmus to do more “serious paintings” as compared to commercial works.

Often mentioned as one of the PaJaMa members (acronym for Paul, Jared, and Margaret), or wife to Jared French, Margaret Hoening French was a companion and an important figure in the group. She was a professionally trained artist who studied at Smith College and The Art Students League. She was mostly associated with photography, but was also a skilled painter and printmaker. Many of her exquisite drawings, portraits, and prints are shown for the first time and offered in this auction.

Another woman artist offered in the sale, whose works are once again attracting notice, is Fidelma Cadmus Kirstein. The younger sister of Paul Cadmus and wife of Lincoln Kirstein, who was an impresario and co-founder of the New York City Ballet. She started out early as a teenager making art and designs for a wall paper company, books, and magazines. Some of her early works and illustrations from the 1920s in this sale will be shown for the first time. While her talent in art was obvious at an early age, her personal life was deeply troubled and turmoil in her relationship with Kirstein eventually led her to stop working as an artist.

We are pleased to offer an auction that is a retrospective of this important art historical period. Some of the highlights of the sale are:

Paul Cadmus, Male Nude #NM5, 1965, Crayons on Hand-toned Paper
Paul Cadmus, The Cecropia Helmet, 1972, Watercolor and Crayons on Hand-toned Paper
Paul Cadmus, Male Nude Z26, 1998, Crayons on Hand-toned Gray Strathmore Paper
Margaret Hoening French (American. 1906-1998), Workers at Harbor, Egg Tempera on Board