Congenial Spirits: Cirque Series Meets Migration Series

(Left) Georges Rouault, Cirque de l'étoile filante, Plate XV: Les Ballerines, printed 1938. Color etching and aquatint on paper, 12 3/8 x 8 1/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Acquired 1939 (Center) Georges Rouault, Cirque de l'étoile filante, Plate XVI: Auguste, printed 1938. Color etching and aquatint on paper, 12 3/8 x 8 5/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Acquired 1939. (Right) Georges Rouault, Cirque de l'étoile filante, Plate XVII: Dors, mon amour, printed 1938. Color etching and aquatint on paper, 12 3/8 x 8 1/2 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Acquired 1939. Photo: Amy Wike

After bidding adieu to Allan deSouza’s The World Series, the empty gallery space has been filled with French fauvist Georges Rouault‘s Cirque de L’Étoile Filante (Circus of the Shooting Star). Just as deSouza’s work elicited an interesting dialogue when viewed next to Lawrence’s series, the neighboring gallery again provides visitors with a thought-provoking comparison. Similar in certain aspects (format, year created, size), the two series differ greatly in content and method.

Several of Rouault’s panels include tutu-clad circus performers, adding a playful foil to Degas’s ballet dancers just a few galleries away.

Jacob Lawrence's The Migration Series and Georges Rouault's Cirque de L'Étoile Filante create an interesting conversation in neighboring galleries. Photo: Amy Wike

A Conversation on The Coronation

Nicholas and Sheila Pye, still from The Coronation, 3-channel video/still 2008. Courtesy of the Curator's Office and Nicholas and Sheila Pye.

Museum volunteer Gerry Hendershot and Volunteer Coordinator Lisa Leinberger discuss The Coronation by Nicholas and Sheila Pye. The three-panel video work is installed in a gallery with Georges Rouault’s Tragic Landscape (from our permanent collection), creating a dialogue between the works in the latest installment of the Intersections series. It is on view through May 8.

Gerry: I believe I have decoded the Pye installation. It’s based on a 15th century altarpiece by Jan van Eyck.

Lisa: You are so right!

Hubert van Eyck, completed by Jan van Eyck, Ghent Altarpiece, c. 1423-32 (Ghent, St. Bavo)

Gerry: Rouault described himself as “a Gothic artist… Preoccupied with sinister backgrounds and besetting sins,” which abound in both the Van Eyck and Pye pieces. I saw that altarpiece years ago, and it surfaced to my consciousness when I saw the Pye triptych. Continue reading “A Conversation on The Coronation” »