1952 (2 of 6)
1953 (3 of 6)
Taking advantage of the new burst of gay consciousness in post-World War II America, Quaintance and Garcia began marketing black-and-white photographs of his near-nude models and color prints of the paintings. In 1953, he wrote a friend that "business has grown to fantastic proportions in the last few months and truly I'm practically out of my mind trying to keep up with it."
Primitive Man, 1953
Sunrise, 1953, Model Bill Bredlau
The Bandit, 1953
The works he sold by mail offer no display of genitals except in the tight confines of Levi jeans, an image first popularized by Quaintance, or through filmy materials in strategic positions. The apparently innocent surfaces in surrealistic bright colors seethe with homoeroticism.
In 1953, Quaintance painted a series based on bull-fighting with a dark, handsome matador. The model was Angel Avila, one of several swarthy Latinos who became the artist's lover outside of his continuing relationship with his first love, Victor Garcia. In a letter to a friend dated April 27, 1953, Quaintance wrote that the paintings "were done in turmoil, in passion--I might even say in emotional agony."
This trio of paintings--Preludio, Gloria, and Moribundo--may have reflected the course of the love affair from its prelude to its physical fulfillment to its death-like ending. The paintings are among the best in the Quaintance oeuvre, rising above the almost cartoon-like depictions of cowboys and Roman slaves.
1954-1956 (4 of 6)
1957 (5 of 6)
Afterword (6 of 6)