Curio Cabinet | May 16, 2022

Clara Tice and the Art of Being Bohemian 

In 1915, Clara Tice became the talk of the town when a series of her nude drawings exhibited at Polly’s Greenwich Village restaurant became a target of moral reform. Anthony Comstock, the head of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, wanted the bohemians gone. The Village, known at the time as America’s Left Bank, was home to artists, writers, and political activists living in crowded tenements and brownstones. They were known for their raucous parties and eccentric dress. Comstock directed his crusade at the “obscene, lewd, and lascivious” art and literature that filled the bookshops and hung on the walls of coffeehouses, restaurants, and small galleries. Tice’s simple yet provocative drawings were saved from confiscation at the last minute, when they were bought by a patron. The controversy made the front page of the New York Tribune 

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