Tag: Pennsylvania

Charles Demuth (1883-1935)

Charles Demuth (1883-1935)

Demuth was an openly gay artist based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (USA). He is known by most museum-goers as a precisionist architectural watercolorist. Yet, Demuth also painted more homoerotic works of art set in bathhouses and other accepted homosocial environments.

Featured Artwork: Dancing Sailors

Date & Location: 1918 in Pennsylvania, USA

Media: Watercolor and pencil

Where can I view this artwork?: The Cleveland Museum of Art in Cleveland, Ohio (USA). Not currently on view.

Significance to Queer Art History: While not unusual for male sailors to dance with one another without women in this time, Demuth works to embody the closeness of the two left sailors in their gazes toward one another with the added tension of having them dancing with women instead of one another. Along with this, the focus dwells on the muscular bodies of the sailors and their outlined buttocks.

Resources & Further Reading:

“Dancing Sailors.” Cleveland Museum of Art. http://www.clevelandart.org/art/1980.9.

Weinberg, Jonathan. “Demuth’s Erotic Watercolors.” In Speaking for Vice: Homosexuality in the Art of Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley and the First American Avante-garde, 98-100. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.