Ill-Fated Toreador

  • Eugenie Gershoy, Ill-Fated Toreador, ca. 1935-1939, polychromed dextrine on wood, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from General Services Administration, 1971.447.31

During the late 1930s, Eugenie Gershoy began working for the Works Progress Administration in New York. A friend of hers, the artist Max Spivak, was designing a series of murals for a children’s library in Astoria, Long Island. Gershoy decided to create colorful figurines to go along with Spivak’s paintings. These sculptures depicted circus characters posed in a variety of impossible feats, including the figures in Ill-Fated Toreador, who dangles precariously from a bull’s horn, and The Very Strong Man, who lifts an elephant above his head while balancing on one toe. The library was so pleased with the work of Gershoy and Spivak, they rebuilt the space into an oval to emphasize the circus setting.

I began to explore the use of color … to intensify gesture and expression, to accentuate movement, heighten dramatic effects, [and] enhance the imagery.” Artist’s statement

Ill-Fated Toreador
ca. 1935-1939
2010 1813 58 in. (50.825.634.5 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Transfer from General Services Administration

Mediums Description
polychromed dextrine on wood
  • State of being – other – accident
  • Figure male – full length
  • New Deal – Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project – New York City
  • Animal – cattle
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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