Legion of Honor
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s last great project centered on one of the most popular forms of public spectacle, the circus. During the spring of 1899, while confined to a sanitarium, he created from memory a series of colored drawings of circus subjects that he intended to publish in book form. At the Circus: Rearing Horse represents a death-defying act in which a pudgy trainer positions himself beneath the hooves of a powerful rearing horse. Through this sheet and the others composing the circus album, the infirm artist sought to demonstrate that his creative faculties, and his supreme powers of draftsmanship, remained intact.
Currently on view in Artful Animals.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901). Au cirque: Cheval pointant (At the Circus: Rearing Horse), 1899. Black chalk with orange and yellow pencil additions. Museum purchase, Elizabeth Ebert and Arthur W. Barney Fund. 1977.2.5

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s last great project centered on one of the most popular forms of public spectacle, the circus. During the spring of 1899, while confined to a sanitarium, he created from memory a series of colored drawings of circus subjects that he intended to publish in book form. At the Circus: Rearing Horse represents a death-defying act in which a pudgy trainer positions himself beneath the hooves of a powerful rearing horse. Through this sheet and the others composing the circus album, the infirm artist sought to demonstrate that his creative faculties, and his supreme powers of draftsmanship, remained intact.

Currently on view in Artful Animals.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901). Au cirque: Cheval pointant (At the Circus: Rearing Horse), 1899. Black chalk with orange and yellow pencil additions. Museum purchase, Elizabeth Ebert and Arthur W. Barney Fund. 1977.2.5

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