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Night in Bologna

1958 Paul Cadmus Born: New York, New York 1904 Died: Weston, Connecticut 1999 egg tempera on fiberboard 50 3/4 x 35 in. (129.0 x 89.0 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the Sara Roby Foundation 1986.6.87 Not currently on view

Gallery Label

Night in Bologna is a dark comedy of sexual tensions played out on a stage of shadowy arcades. In the foreground, a soldier on leave throws off a visible heat that suffuses the air around him with a red glow. He casts an appraising look at a worldly woman nearby, who gauges the interest of a man seated at a café table. The gawky tourist is unaware of her attentions, and looks longingly at the man in uniform. Cadmus left the outcome unclear because he was more interested in the tangle of human instincts than in tidy resolutions. He once said that he would always rather paint "a novel" than "a short story."

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006


Architecture Exterior - detail - column

Cityscape - Italy - Bologna

Cityscape - time - night

Dress - uniform - military uniform

Figure group


paint - tempera