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Classification: Painting

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Image of Acrobats—Balancing Act

Charles Demuth
American, 1883–1935

Acrobats—Balancing Act

1916

Object Type: Painting
Creation Place: North America, American, Pennsylvania
Dimensions:
13 in. x 8 in. (33.02 cm x 20.32 cm)
Medium and Support: Watercolor and graphite on paper
Accession Number: 1989.0002.0009

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


Demuth achieved a high public profile for his oil paintings and drawings executed in the style known as Precisionism, that is angular and abstracted compositions that link his work to that of the other American Modernists of the early twentieth century. However, Demuth essentially worked in two quite different styles concurrently, and "Acrobats, Balancing Act", is exemplary of his second style; watercolors executed with sinuous, fluid lines and transparent washes of color.

The subject matter of this work reflects Demuth's interest in performers, most likely due to the influence of Henri Toulouse Lautrec, Edgar Degas and other French artists who depicted similar cabaret and theater subjects. While he was a well-traveled and urbane man, most of his theatrical subjects were derived from acts he saw at the local theaters in his home of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the Fulton Opera House and the Colonial Theater.

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