A lithograph from Chagall's "Le Cirque" series; and Matisse's "Le Cirque."
By SYLVIANE GOLD
Published: November 26, 2010
Marc Chagall once wrote that the circus seemed to him “like the most tragic show on earth.”
The quote turns up in the Bruce Museum’s “Circus! Art and Science Under the Big Top,” beneath four of Chagall’s swirling, brilliantly colored, manifestly untragic circus scenes from a 1967 series of lithographs, “Le Cirque.” And there’s no lack of exuberance in the show’s vintage posters, with their scantily clad artistes displaying their tricks and their charms. But after taking in some of the other items in this grab bag of circus-related paintings, prints, photographs, advertising and paraphernalia, you understand why Chagall saw tragedy in the sawdust.
A toy from the show.
His own aerialists and bareback riders float serenely enough in the vibrant, gravity-free universe we know from other Chagalls. The photographer Paul Outerbridge Jr., making a rare museum appearance as a printmaker, conveys the circus’s whimsy in four spare, elegantly drawn images from 1934. And the circus’s blaring energy comes through in three 1947 pochoir prints by Henri Matisse, deploying his late-career paper cutouts in primary colors
Thrills and Chills (Except for the Guy Behind the Elephant)
read more at:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/nyregion/28artct.html
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