Innovative gay artist George Quaintance is remembered and celebrated for his trailblazing talent and courage in “The Flamboyant Life and Forbidden Art of George Quaintance” presented at TASCHEN Gallery in Los Angeles.
Quaintance, born in 1902, created his works of hypermasculine fantasy in a time before the sexual revolution, when homosexuality was very much a taboo and hushed subject, and when his homoerotic depictions of the male physique tiptoed the line of legality.
Regarded as “the Master Painter of the Male Physique,” Quaintance’s boldness lay the groundwork for many later homoerotic artists, including the iconic Tom of Finland. Pieces by Finland and gay magazine pioneer Bob Mizer will accompany “Flamboyant,” showing the influence Quaintance had on the gay art world.
Quaintance found much success at the peak of his career in the 1950s, working tirelessly to complete magazine commissions, personal mail orders and other obligations. His devotion to his work took a toll; Quaintance died of a heart attack in 1957. Mizer recalled Quaintance’s unfaltering work ethic and the legacy he left behind, “Throughout the world, he has been acclaimed as the trailblazer of a culture which has been almost ignored for 20 centuries.”
That legacy continues on today at TASCHEN Gallery. “The Flamboyant Life and Forbidden Art of George Quaintance” runs from July 3 to August 31, 2015.