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Charles Demuth was one of the most stylistically innovative watercolor artists of the 20th century. Charles Demuth was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the only and indulged child of successful business people--so financially secure that Demuth never had to work for a living, although he was never wealthy. Demuth had a sense of self-certainty and stability permeated Charles Demuth's family environment. At age four or five, Demuth suffered from Perthes, a disease that left him with one short leg due to deformation of the hip joint.

Demuth's watercolors range from translucent landscape abstractions to decorative florals, stylized still lifes, miniature narrative scenes, lively circus and vaudeville arabesques, and unashamedly explicit homoerotic idylls. Demuth often accented or shaped areas (such as the umber cushions and lampshade) by blotting them. Recently published works on Demuth readily acknowledge his homosexuality. His sexual orientation is, in fact, impossible to ignore. Along with his landmark architectural studies and floral watercolors, there exists a body of work that is unquestionably homoerotic. Art scholars and historians now present his colorful life in all its hues, and publish the Provincetown sailors along with the Lancaster grain mills.


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