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Pa Ja Ma

Magic Realism

June–August 2018

PaJaMa, Untitled, ​c. 1945. A face can be seen in a small square opening in a wooden structure.
PaJaMa, Margaret French, Paul Cadmus, Provincetown, ​c. 1945. Two silhouettes on either side of a backlit white sheet. The left figure holds a small branch with leaves.
PaJaMa, Silhouettes (The Frenches), Hawthorne House, Provincetown, ​1947. Shadow of a figure laying on its back with arms and legs reaching upward.
PaJaMa (Jared French), John Butler, ​1943. Nude male figure with head turned upward, a wide shadow cast on the wall behind him.
PaJaMa, Jensen Yow, ​c. 1945. Nude male figure standing above a mirror, feet spread to the mirror's bottom corners. Full body is seen in the reflection; only the lower body above.
PaJaMa, John B., ​c. 1945. Nude male figure seated in profile facing left, back hunched, arms straight down to the floor, one leg beneath him and one extended out in front of him.
PaJaMa, Margaret French, Hoboken, ​c. 1945. A woman stands wearing draping fabric in front of a fireplace. One hand is on her hip and the other held to her chest.
PaJaMa, Jared French, ​c. 1945. A man's upper torso emerges from shadows at the top of a staircase in the top left of the frame.
PaJaMa, Untitled, c. 1945. A man in a swimsuit on the beach does a handstand with legs against a striped pole.
PaJaMa, Untitled, ​c. 1945. Four men in swimsuits stand on the beach. Two face the camera and two face away, towards the ocean.
PaJaMa, José Martinez, ​c. 1945. Nude male figure stands on the beach with arms resting across the top of his head, back to the camera.
PaJaMa, Ted Starkowski, Chuck Howard, ​c. 1945. Two men in swimsuits lay on the beach, one leaning against the other's chest. Each has one leg bent and one extended.
PaJaMa, Fidelma Cadmus and Margaret French, Nantucket, ​c. 1945. Two women seated at the top of a tall flight of wooden stairs that lead down to a beach. One faces left, the other has her back to the camera.
PaJaMa, Fidelma Cadmus, ​c. 1945. A woman in white lays in the sand beneath a dried wooden branch extending from the lower left to the upper right of the frame.
PaJaMa, Margaret French, Nantucket, ​c. 1945. A woman in black sits on the beach facing left. Seaweed blurred with motion hangs above her from outside the top right of the frame, extending toward the lower left.
PaJaMa, Fidelma Cadmus, Nantucket, ​c. 1945. A woman stands facing left, looking upward, at the corner of a low white railing.
PaJaMa, Margaret French, ​c. 1945. A woman stands on the beach holding a parasol, leaning against a wooden structure with fabric draping from it.
PaJaMa, Fidelma Cadmus and Margaret French, Nantucket, ​c. 1945. Two woman stand on a long wooden set of stairs leading down to a beach. One faces the camera with eyes closed in the foreground, the other faces right in the midground.
PaJaMa, Margaret French, Jared French, Fire Island, ​1945. A wooden plank extends across the lower frame with various glass bottles on it. The lower body of one nude figure, facing away, and the upper body of a woman facing left, are behind the bottles.
PaJaMa, Margaret French, Fire Island, c. 1945. A woman in white's upper torso extends from the right of the frame; she is laying on a piece of driftwood on the beach.
PaJaMa, Margaret French and Fidelma Cadmus, ​1942. Two women lay on the beach on either side of a piece of driftwood.
PaJaMa (Jared French), Paul Cadmus, Nantucket, ​1946. Subject stands shirtless in the foreground in the lower left of the frame, a large field in the background.
PaJaMa (Margaret French), George Tooker, Paul Cadmus, Jared French, Wauwinet, ​c. 1948. Three men on the beach; two are standing, one is seated. Frame is divided vertically by the sand (right) meeting the sea (left).
PaJaMa, Paul Cadmus, Margaret French, Provincetown, ​c. 1947. Two figures recline on a sand dune in the foreground. Midground is all in shadow, and in the background sea and sky.
PaJaMa, José Martinez, Paul Cadmus, & Fidelma Cadmus, Fire Island, ​1939. Male figure in a swimsuit stands on top of a sand dune, back to the camera, looking down towards two figures at the bottom of the dune.
PaJaMa, Paul Cadmus, Margaret French, ​c. 1945. Two hooded figures, backs to the camera, look out from the lower right of the frame towards sand dunes.
PaJaMa, George Tooker, Paul Cadmus, Nantucket, ​1946. Shirtless figure seated in the foreground, facing left. Standing figure in the midground, facing right. Setting of rolling, grassy hills.
PaJaMa, George Tooker, Paul Cadmus, William Caskey, Provincetown, ​c. 1945. Three figures on a beach; one laying down (left), one standing (center), and one crouched (right).
PaJaMa, George Tooker & Paul Cadmus, Provincetown, ​c. 1945. Two male nude figures on towels on the beach, backs to the camera. One lays on his stomach, the other sits, leaning back on one hand.
PaJaMa, Paul Cadmus, Fire Island, ​c. 1950. Shirtless man in white pants reclines on the sand beside a thin fence, which casts shadows to the right across his body and the sand.
PaJaMa, Jensen Yow & Fack Fontan, Cherry Grove, F.I., ​1950. Two shirtless men stand on the beach; one stands on a raised wooden structure, looking left, the other stands at its base to the left, looking up and to the right.
PaJaMa, George Tooker & Jared French (?), Nantucket, ​c. 1945. Nude male figure stands in the foreground by a wooden post, holding a piece of driftwood in front of him. Another nude man in the background, back to the camera, walks into the sea.
PaJaMa, Fidelma Cadmus & George Tooker, Nantucket, ​c. 1945. A man and woman walk through a grassy area holding a cloth above their heads, which blows back towards the left in the wind. A pool of water is between the figures and the camera.
PaJaMa, Glenway Wescott, George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus, [unidentified], ​c. 1941. Four men on the beach with a thick rope connecting them. Three are standing (left), one lays facedown in the sand.
PaJaMa, Glenway Wescott, George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus, ​c. 1941. Three men pose together on the beach. Two face the camera, the central nude figure faces away.
PaJaMa, Glenway Wescott, Paul Cadmus, George Platt Lynes, c. 1941. Two men sit on the beach on a large wooden spool (left), a third man lays in the sand, curving his body alongside a thick rope.
PaJaMa, Paul Cadmus, c. 1945. Subject lays in the sand holding a vaguely figural sculpture above him made of driftwood, a white sheet, and what looks like a balloon.
PaJaMa, José Martinez, ​c. 1945. A man in a swimsuit lays on a striped towel, facing left.
PaJaMa, Silvano Gasparini, Venice, ​c. 1949. A man in a swimsuit catches a frisbee, running from left to right across the frame. The ocean and a sailboat are in the background.
PaJaMa, Margaret French & Jared French, Nantucket, ​c. 1945. A woman in draping white fabric poses between two wooden posts. A nude male figure is seated, back to the camera, in the midground. The beach and sea are in the background.
PaJaMa, Jared French, Fire Island, ​1942. A nude male lays in the sand with head in the lower left and legs in the upper right of the frame, seaweed covering his hands, feet, head, neck, and crotch.
PaJaMa, Margaret French, Provincetown, ​1947. A woman stands in shadow on the left of the frame, surrounded by stacked planks of wood.
PaJaMa, George Tooker, Paul Cadmus, George Platt Lynes, Monroe Wheeler, ​c. 1945. Four men on the beach alongside tire tracks in the sand extending away from the lower right of the frame. Two men are laying down; two are standing.
PaJaMa, Jared French, Saltaire, ​c. 1945. Male nude save for a thin white shirt stands in the foreground, reaching and looking upward, waves crashing behind him.
PaJaMa, Jack Fontan, ​c. 1945. Male nude seated in the sand, back to the camera, behind a chain link fence, head turned left.
PaJaMa (Jared French), José Martinez, Fire Island, ​c. 1945. Nude male stands in the midground on the beach, looking to the camera with hands resting atop his head.
PaJaMa, Sandy Campbell, ​1943. Reclining male nude filling the lower portion of the horizontal frame against a white fabric backdrop. He lays on his side away from the camera, head turned upward.
PaJaMa, Bob Wallace, ​1947. Male nude, eyes closed, facing the camera, seated against an indoor wall, one leg bent and the other extended outward.

Press Release

Keith de Lellis Gallery is pleased to exhibit the photographs of collaborators Paul Cadmus (American, 1904-1999), Jared French (American, 1905-1988), and Margaret French (American, 1889-1973) for the summer season. As coined by Cadmus, the trio is collectively known as “PAJAMA,” the first two letters of each member’s name.

 

The three painters began making photographs together in 1937, photographing friends, family, and, primarily, each other over the course of the next two decades. Fellow creatives like George Platt Lynes, George Tooker, Glenway Wescott, and Jensen Yow are often pictured. The dreamlike images featured in this exhibition were made on summertime beaches of places like Provincetown, MA and Fire Island, NY. These small prints were collected privately by the artists and distributed among friends, only valued for their artistic merit years after their creation.

 

Cadmus recalled, “After we'd been working most of the day, we'd go out late afternoons and take photographs when the light was best. They were just playthings. We would hand out these little photographs when we went to dinner parties, like playing cards” (Jerry Rosco, Glenway Wescott Personally: A Biography, p. 78).

The staged tableaus take advantage of the environment, combining the natural forms of dunes, trees, and rocks with the human figure, often nude. The images often served as studies for the artists' paintings, with similar scenes and figures rendered in egg tempera.

 

Beautiful, intimate, and dramatic, these photographs serve as both a testament to the group's artistic sensibilities and a document of their decades-long friendship.

 

Pa Ja Ma: Magic Realism will be on view at the Keith de Lellis Gallery through August 10, 2018.