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Clown with Long Nose

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Image of Clown with Long Nose

Walt Kuhn
American, (active 1877–1949)

Clown with Long Nose

1936

Object Type: Painting
Creation Place: North America, American, New York
Dimensions:
40 in. x 30 3/8 in. (101.6 cm x 77.15 cm)
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Accession Number: 1989.0002.0025

Credit Line: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama, The Blount Collection

Currently On View
Copyright: © 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.

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