At the very end of the Second World War a German soldier and a Latvian refugee met at the border camp at Würzburg; nine months later their son Edmond was born. Mother and son took the Italian-sounding name Cervone (cervo is Italian for stag) to enter the USA a few months later, and set up their small household in Boston.

Having a talent for art, Ed found a ready market for his graphic skills in heraldry and related historic subjects; he also painted portraits and landscapes.

In the mid-1970s he moved to Manhattan in New York, and came out as openly gay, creating a stream of drawings and colourful paintings depicting homoerotic dreams and fantasies featuring young men with six-pack chests, tight buttocks, and mightily swelling cocks. He shared his city apartment with his partner Ken Abel, and as his work gained in popularity managed to survive as an artist, gaining the soubriquet ‘Ed of Manhattan’ among the New York gay scene.

The Swimming Pond, 1985

His work attracted the attention of the Berlin specialist publisher Janssen Verlag, who featured his work first in Phantasies of Gay Sex (1996), then in Volume 5 (1998) of their series Der Mann in Der Kunst (Men in Art), and finally in a monograph entitled Fantasy of Action in 2004, with an introduction by Cervone’s friends Gerald Stanowicki and Hubert Porteners.

Ed Cervone was also a skilled and appreciated landscape painter, travelling and working widely with Ken in North America and Europe. In 1987 his beloved partner died in a car accident. Cervone followed him four years following an inoperable brain tumour.

Example illustration