May 7, 2013 - September 16, 2013
During the early twentieth century, stars of the American circus were among the most idolized celebrities of the day. Their portraits and depictions of their marvelous feats of grace, agility, and bravery were used to sells tickets as circuses moved from town to town. A selection of posters, dating from the 1910’s through the 1940’s feature some of the most famous faces ever seen in the center ring, from the dashing wire walker Con Colleano and the “Queen of the Air” Lillian Leitzel to the amazing Flying Zacchinis. The colorful lithographs illustrate the transition from the youthful energy of the Jazz age and its Art Deco stylings to the flat colors and and simplified shapes inspired by abstract art. They also reflect the evolving styles of circus acts, wardrobe and the designs of the advertisements and show the ongoing influence of Modernism on the popular entertainment and its most talented artists.