Paul Cadmus, The Architect
The Architect


Signed, l.r.

Pastel and pencil on buff paper

16 x 16 inches, image
18 x 18 inches, sheet


Lincoln Kirstein, Paul Cadmus (New York: Chameleon Books, 1996), pp. 70-1, full-page color illus. (related example)
David Leddick, Intimate Companions: A Triography of George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus, Lincoln Kirstein, and Their Circle (New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 2000), pp. 220-2 (related example)

Lincoln Kirstein writes: “‘Architect’ is a tour de force compounded of rectangularity. A young draftsman sits over a still life of the tools of his trade—T-square and compass laid out heraldically on a bare drawing-board. Cubic space determines the governing metric of his profession. Behind him, through a square-paned window, rises a business block, boxed and perforated by ribbons of identical windows. Here is minimal made architecture art and craft rather than negotiable roofed property. A visual sermon against the absolute lack of choice in modern real estate where hundreds of floors, rooms with eight-foot ceilings, thousands of identical cubicles, windowless and air-conditioned, represent a lowest common divisor of rentable space, a cheerless environment more suited to penal servitude than fit habitation for the exercise of thought or able work.

“However, the spectral body of a muse or demon shadows our architect, implying recollection through stubborn attachment to the memory and principles of great builders and their monuments, even in the bloodless cubage of concrete, steel, and glass. A ruby glows through the window of its breast, as steady memory and hopeful night light.”

The frame and velvet mat on this artwork were made by the artist.

The model is Charles ‘Chuck’ Howard. Chuck Howard was the lover of George Platt Lynes. After Howard and Lynes broke up in 1951, Howard (a fashion designer trained in Paris) worked with his friends Bill Blass and Ann Klein, among others. Howard introduced Ann Klein to Donna Karan, then a design student at Parson’s working for him.

The model for the figure outside of the window is painter George Tooker, another romantic interest of Cadmus’s during this time period.

For an extensive quote regarding Cadmus’s models in “The Architect,” see David Leddick, ibid.

Work by Paul Cadmus (1904-1999)