The Great Parade Portrait of the Artist as Clown Gérard

Publication date:
11 Jul 2004
Yale University Press
424 pages: 286 x 248mm
10 b-w + 230 color illus.


The circus is a dazzling world filled with acrobats and harlequins, tumblers and riders, monsters and celestial creatures. Now this engaging book sets that world in a new light, examining how painters, sculptors, and photographers from the eighteenth century to the present have used the circus as a springboard for their imaginative expression and have envisioned the clown as a metaphor for the modern artist.

The book presents more than 175 works by such artists as Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Rouault, Picasso, Chagall, and Léger. Some of these are masterful works shown for the first time; these range from the 18-meter stage curtain Picasso designed in 1917 for Erik Satie’s ballet Parade to more intimate works such as Nadar and Tournachon’s photographs of Pierrot as played by celebrated mime Charles Debureau.

Gérard Régnier (Jean Clair), Director of the Musée Picasso, Paris, is the general editor of the catalogue.

'Clowns remind us of the gulf between artifice and reality; and how art exploits it' -