Before the Dawn of Tom
BY Christopher Harrity
July 09 2011 4:00 AM ET
Tom of Finland’s first submissions to the underground gay magazine Physique Pictorial came in 1956. By the second half of the 20th century, censorship laws had relaxed and allowed artists like Tom greater freedom in depicting the nude male in art. But the first half of the century demanded that artists play it more subtly and coded. Often they destroyed their work of a more gay or erotic nature, or kept it under lock and key.
Here we look at the paintings from six of these artists through 21st-century eyes, and it’s hard to fathom not seeing the gay subtext in their work. One seems to even flaunt the male erotic figure in the most mainstream of all venues — The Saturday Evening Post.
And yet all these six artists were respected and collected, commercially viable producers for the pre-Kinsey crowd.
- Op-ed: Religion Shouldn't Be an Excuse for Discrimination
- WATCH: President Obama Tells Morehouse Grads 'Be the Best Husband to Your Boyfriend'
- WATCH: Ben Affleck and SNL Crew Go to Ex-Gay Camp
- The Miseducation of Destin Holmes
- Florida Teen Facing Sex Offender Charge For Consensual Same-Sex Relationship
- Thousands Rally Against Anti-LGBT Violence in New York City
Sign Up For Email Updates
- Music EXCLUSIVE: Audra McDonald's 'Some Days' 1 hour 23 min ago
- Travel A Handy, Color-Coded Map to Gay Europe 1 hour 37 min ago
- Commentary Op-ed: Religion Shouldn't Be an Excuse for Discrimination 4:40 AM
- Current Issue The Miseducation of Destin Holmes 4:00 AM
- Politics Obama to Grads: 'Be the Best Husband to Your Boyfriend' May 20 2013 7:56 PM
- Crime Thousands Rally Against Anti-LGBT Violence in NYC May 20 2013 7:35 PM
- Women WATCH: Ellen Responds To Abercrombie's Sizeist CEO - 'Fitch, Please!' May 20 2013 7:26 PM