Description This drawing is one of 39 sheets the artist made in the spring of 1899 while he was in a mental hospital in Neuilly being treated for alcoholism. While it is popularly held that the series was done entirely from memory as a demonstration that Toulouse-Lautrec had regained his mental faculties, Perussaux suggested that the artist may very well have been allowed out of the hospital with a companion to visit the Molier circus, which is known to have been held nearby during his stay there (New York, 1953: 2). This theory is supported by the conspicuous absence from some of the drawings of an audience, suggesting that the artist may have been sketching during rehearsals. All of his earlier depictions of the circus, e.g., "In the Cirque Fernando: The Ringmaster," 1888 (The Art Institute of Chicago), show spectators; indeed, the artist's examination of spectatorship as a bourgeois activity at the theater, café-concerts, or dance halls is a hallmark of modernity.
|1/01/2002||Treatment||examined for exhibition; re-housed; mounted|
- French Masterworks on Paper. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1992.
- A Connoisseur's Portfolio: Nineteenth-century Drawings and Watercolors in the Walters Art Gallery. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1983.
- French Master Drawings. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1997-1998.
- The Essence of Line: French Drawings from Ingres to Degas. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma. 2005-2006.
- A Circus Family: Picasso to Léger. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 2009.
Provenance Maurice Joyant, Paris [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Knoedler (?), 1931 [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Sara D. Redmond, Oyster Bay [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1975, by gift.
Inscriptions "TL" in black crayon, upper right; "TL" estate stamp in red, lower right; partial watermark "AN 18[?]" and "B", could be J Whatman Turkey Mill
Credit Gift of Mrs. Sara D. Redmond, 1975
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