Clown with Long Nose
North America, American, New York
40 in. x 30 3/8 in. (101.6 cm x 77.15 cm)
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama, The Blount Collection
Currently On View
© Estate of Walter Kuhn
Kuhn is known for his images of performers in costume, particularly circus performers. The narrative content of "Clown with Long Nose" differs, albeit subtly, from many of Kuhn’s other individual circus performer portraits. The model’s cheerful animation—his wry smile and gesturing hands—distinguish this figure from others in Kuhn’s oeuvre, whose facial expressions are generally flat and affectless. This simple variation changes the painting’s focus from the formal elements of shape, color, and line, to its mood. Multiple interpretations become possible: one can read the model’s painted face as a portrait with an air of human warmth, or more perversely, as an applied mask that hides something sinister.
American Paintings from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, cat. no. 57, p. 146.