Larger Type
Smaller Type

Search Collections

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 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, North Wing

Exhibition Label

Night in Bologna is a provocative scene. A traveler with a suitcase seated at a café table observes a soldier in uniform, who looks toward a strolling woman. Each is bathed in a different color of light: the soldier in red for lust, the woman in yellow for greed, and the tourist in green for envy.

Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection, 2014

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


About Paul Cadmus

Born: New York, New York 1904 Died: Weston, Connecticut 1999

More works in the collection by
Paul Cadmus