NUDES AND EROTIC ART

Cummings painted primarily in oil, whether he used canvas, canvasboard, particle board, or cardboard (even burlap!) as his surface. The largest group of works in the current collection are nudes, which consist of either posed studio work or figures at play in the natural world, often amidst wildly dynamic landscapes. His nudes are sometimes akin to the pin-ups that were popular during the World War II-era in terms of seaside poses, etc., and can be seen as carefully-rendered studies of the female form--his self-education in the craft of visual art, in particular his efforts to master human anatomy, are well-documented in his notes. His erotic paintings of lovers, on the other hand, are of a particularly intense and powerful nature: Cummings often painted faceless, muscular male figures violently grappling with their lovers, and these seem to have an almost mythic nature and to be more internal or psychologically-wrought than strictly representational. Most of this material dates from the late 1930s through to the late 1950s.


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