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The Circus

1971 Albina Felski Born: Fernie, British Columbia, Canada 1916 Died: 1996 acrylic on canvas 48 x 48 1/4 in. (122.0 x 122.4 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1986.65.108 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 23B


Luce Center Label

Albina Felski often took almost a year to complete one painting, carefully working from the top to the bottom of a large canvas without making any sketches. This painting shows a chaotic eight-ring circus with almost every imaginable act taking place simultaneously, from dancing bears and trapeze artists to an animal tamer in a cage full of leopards. Felski was probably inspired by a childhood trip to the circus, and managed to cram all of her colorful, jumbled memories into one painting.

Keywords

Animal - lion

Animal - zebra

Performing arts - circus - acrobat

Performing arts - circus - animal tamer

Performing arts - circus - clown

Recreation - carnival

painting

folk art

paint - acrylic

fabric - canvas