Clown with a Black Wig

Walt Kuhn American

Not on view

Renowned for his penetrating, sometimes even unnerving portraits of circus performers, Kuhn resisted most aspects of the European avant-garde throughout his career. Consequently, art critics often heralded his work as particularly "American." The sitter for this portrait is Albert Driscoll, who modeled for other works by Kuhn. Disguised by make-up and costume, Driscoll’s "real" identity is concealed from the viewer, while his inert seated presence runs counter to the physicality associated with clowning. Driscoll’s deadpan gaze, so contrary to circus joviality, is characteristic of Kuhn’s portrait painting generally.

Clown with a Black Wig, Walt Kuhn (American, New York 1877–1949 White Plains, New York), Oil on canvas

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