WALT KUHN (1877-1949)
WALT KUHN (1877-1949)
WALT KUHN (1877-1949)
WALT KUHN (1877-1949)
3 More
WALT KUHN (1877-1949)

Acrobat with Cigarette

WALT KUHN (1877-1949)
Acrobat with Cigarette
signed and dated 'Walt Kuhn/1930' (center right)—inscribed with title twice (on the tacking edges)
oil on canvas
24 x 20 in. (60.9 x 50.8 cm.)
Painted in 1930.
The artist.
Estate of the above.
Maynard Walker Gallery, New York.
Private collection, Houston, Texas, acquired from the above, 1967.
Acquired by the present owner from the above.
Creative Arts, November 1931, p. 393, illustrated.
Formes, January 1932, pp. 200-01, fig. 7, illustrated.
Citizen, April 1935, Columbus, Ohio, n.p., illustrated.
Index, 1936, p. 347.
W. Kuhn, P. Bird, Fifty Paintings by Walt Kuhn, New York, 1940, p. 13, illustrated.
P.R. Adams, Walt Kuhn: Painter, Columbus, Ohio, 1978, pp. 129, 146, no. 254.
New York, Marie Harriman Gallery, Exhibition of Paintings by Walt Kuhn, November 1-26, 1930, n.p., no. 12, illustrated.
New York, Marie Harriman Gallery, 1932.
Saint Louis, Missouri, City Art Museum, Paintings by Walt Kuhn, 1933.
Columbus, Ohio, Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, Walt Kuhn, 1935.
Dayton, Ohio, Dayton Art Institute, Walt Kuhn Paintings, 1935.
Cincinnati, Ohio, Cincinnati Art Museum, Walt Kuhn (1877-1949): A Memorial Exhibition, October 1960, n.p., no. 45.
Springvale, Maine, Nasson College, 1964, no. 2.
Fort Worth, Texas, Amon Carter Museum of American Art; Omaha, Nebraska, Joslyn Art Museum; Wichita, Kansas, Wichita Art Museum; Colorado Springs, Colorado, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Walt Kuhn: A Classic Revival, August 6, 1978-April 15, 1979, no. 11.

Brought to you by

Tylee Abbott
Tylee Abbott Vice President, Head of American Art

Lot Essay

Curator John I.H. Baur reflected on Walt Kuhn’s complex depictions of performers, “There is no mistaking the artist’s intent, his interest in the tragic and human side of his character rather than its traditional glamour, and one is led to the conclusion that Kuhn’s art today springs from the same general current which produced the pallid harlots and dance hall queens of Toulouse-Lautrec over a quarter of a century ago.” (Walt Kuhn, Painter: His Life and Work, Columbus, Ohio, 1978, p. 104) Indeed, the present work Acrobat with Cigarette is a psychologically complex portrait of a performer offstage, suspended between two identities. Painted from model Albert Driscoll, who sat for other works by the artist including Clown with Black Wig (1930, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), the present work was shown among the artist's major pictures of the period. In contrast to many of these paintings including The White Clown (1929, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), which depicted performers donning costumes and makeup, the present work strips the sitter to his raw humanity and invites the viewer to contemplate his existence outside of life onstage. Paul Bird opines on Acrobat with Cigarette, "You've seen him in the subway, along Main Street, or at the corner pool parlor. He has no sense of responsibility...This one, particularly, takes life as he finds it." (Fifty Paintings by Walt Kuhn, New York, 1940, p. 13)

More from Modern American Art

View All
View All