Dancing Sailors

1917
(American, 1883–1935)
Support: Cream(2) wove paper, laid down on gray board
Watermarks:
Sheet: 20.4 x 25.7 cm (8 1/16 x 10 1/8 in.); Secondary Support: 21.4 x 26.3 cm (8 7/16 x 10 3/8 in.)
Location: not on view
This artwork is known to be under copyright.

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Did You Know?

This drawing was exhibited only once during the artist's lifetime, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York—notable since he otherwise did not show them publicly.

Description

This drawing was inspired by Charles Demuth's participation in the nightlife of New York's Greenwich Village during the early 20th century. Around this time, the artist made numerous watercolors of nightclubs, performers, and bathhouses. Demuth created two almost identical compositions (the other is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York), which both show groups of three couples, with two sailors dancing together while others dance with women. Demuth kept these and other homoerotic watercolors private throughout his career, and almost never showed them publicly. The sheet's planes of textured watercolor blur figure and background, presenting a subtle but pointedly erotic scene.
Dancing Sailors

Dancing Sailors

1917

Charles Demuth

(American, 1883–1935)
America, 20th century

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