Smoking has long provided men in polite society to excuse themselves and be alone. Of course this also gave women the chance to be alone, but it was the men who were discussing — or at least in control of — commerce and politics. But that’s another story.
In 1932, New York’s Radio City Music Hall commissioned a mural from cubist artist Stuart Davis to grace its men’s smoking lounge. The resulting work not only depicts a pipe and cigar, but other masculine recreations. The painting was given the title “Men Without Women” in likely allusion to Hemingway (Davis didn’t like the title), and in 1975 was bequeathed to the Museum Of Modern Art. In 1998 it returned to its original resting place.
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