Founded in 1873, the Medrano Circus, then merely a tent on the side of a boulevard, was originally called the Fernando Circus because of the name of its founder Ferdinand-Constantin Beert. From 1875, the group set themselves up in a proper permanent theatre venue, specially built on the corner of the rue des Martyrs and Boulevard Rochechouart. Renamed the Medrano Circus in 1897, the date when the clown Geronimo Medrano, nicknamed ‘Boum-Boum’ had taken over management, at the heart of life of Montmartre, frequented by artists and journalists from the very start. The circus was a particularly attractive subject of inspiration for the fin du siècle artists, and some famous painters immortalised the stage and the red and white seats of the circus hall on the Boulevard Rochechouart. Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Seurat had already depicted the acrobats before Abel-Truchet took his turn to get interested in them. Painter, engraver, poster-artist and playwright in his time, the artist painted scenes of Parisian life many times over, and particularly the cafés and concert halls of Montmartre. He was himself a member of that fun-loving artistic bohemian set. Despite the sketchiness of impressionist brushstrokes, all the details are there to evoke the horsewoman’s act: the white circus ring encases the delicate green figure in centre stage, the muted blue of the circus masters’ suits contrast with the ochre-coloured sand, while the unusual Japanese-inspired cropped composition adds a sense of immediacy and includes the viewer in the space, heightening the sense of drama and spectacle.
Signature: Signed Abel Truchet lower left
Image rights: Prudence Cuming Associates
Private collection, Sweden
About Louis Abel-Truchet
French, 1857-1918, Versailles, France, based in Paris, France