Aspects of Suburban Life: Polo

  • Paul Cadmus, Aspects of Suburban Life: Polo, 1936, tempera, oil, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of State, 1978.76.3

Luce Center Label

This painting is from Paul Cadmus’s Aspects of Suburban Life series and shows wealthy Long Islanders watching a game of polo. The series was commissioned by the Treasury Relief Art Project for a post office mural. Cadmus’s supervisors found the images offensive, however, and the project was never completed. In Polo, a photographer from a society magazine eagerly snaps a collision of horses on the field while glamorous women gasp and clutch their pearls. The exaggerated reactions of the idlers suggest that the accident offered more excitement than the game itself.

Luce Object Quote

“I believe in exaggeration, because if things are not exaggerated people pass them by, and people’s noses should be rubbed in all sorts of things, pleasant and unpleasant.” Cadmus, quoted in Kirstein, Paul Cadmus, 1992

Aspects of Suburban Life: Polo
On View
Not on view.
31 5/8 x 45 3/4 in. (80.3 x 116.2 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Transfer from the U.S. Department of State

  • Animal – horse
  • Recreation – sport and play – polo
  • State of being – other – accident
  • Figure group
  • New Deal – Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project – New York City
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI