The Bandit, 1952. Photos courtesy of TASCHEN
Before Tom of Finland, Etienne, or Harry Bush, there was George Quaintance. Born in 1902, he managed to break free of the stifling atmosphere of repression surrounding homosexuality during his life and create full-blooded, vibrant, and very suggestive works of art. While the censorship laws of the time meant he was unable to paint full-frontal nudity, the eroticism of his paintings are almost heightened by the lack of genitalia—in hinting at something the audience will never be able to fully witness, it's as if his pieces are forever teasing us.
Quaintance, who died in 1957, only produced 55 oil paintings, an intimate collection that rarely finds its way into the public sphere, instead remaining shared among a small group of fans. However, in 2010, TASCHEN published Quaintance, offering an unprecedented exploration of his seductive work, heavy with Greek gods, Latin lovers, lusty cowboys, and chiseled ranch hands.
This summer, even more will be given the opportunity to gain insight into the life and work of the preeminent male physique artist of the 1940s and 50s, with the opening of The Flamboyant Life and Forbidden Art of George Quaintance at TASCHEN Gallery in Los Angeles. Seventy years since his first fantasy-fueled creation of the male form, this marks the first public showing of his revolutionary work.
Manolo, 1952 (left) and Havusu Creek, 1948.
Morning in the Desert, 1949 (left) and Hercules, 1957
The Flamboyant Life and Forbidden Art of George Quaintance opens July 2 and will run through August 31. For more information, visit their website.