Under the Big Top: American Art at the Circus

Esther Bruton, American, (1896-1992), Top of the Tent, 1930, drypoint, Anonymous gift, 00.77

On May 21, 2017, “The Greatest Show on Earth” will come to an end, when Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus closes after 146 years. Consisting of 11 works of art in a variety of mediums by seven artists, Under the Big Top provides a glimpse at how the circus and its performers—both human and animal—inspired American artists throughout the 20th century.


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