The Greatest Show on Earth

Circus Museum in the Netherlands is not clowning around. Although its all Dutch to me, this is the most extensive visual archive of circus graphics I’ve ever encountered. It includes posters, banners, flags and press sheets with all the great circus cliches and many more you’ve never seen before (unless you were born on the midway).

Page after web page of thematic vintage work awaits you in this multi-ring virtual tent. See the acrobats, jugglers, magicians, freaks and clowns – see the animals in drag – and learn the folklore of the big top. See it here and visit all the attractions. Come one, come all.

(Thanks to Mirko Ilic)

(And see Robert Grossman’s latest comic on Nightly Heller here.)

Polar Bear Circus Graphics

Seal Circus Graphics

2 thoughts on “The Greatest Show on Earth

  1. Mary Starks

    Have you never been to/heard of the Ringling Museum in Sarasota FL? If not, you’re missing out! They have a huge collection of circus posters, all of which can be seen online (links below). Not to mention the Ringling School of Art & Design up the street, an offspring of the former museum school, which produces scads of award-winning fine and commercial artists (shameless plug for my alma mater).
    http://www.ringling.org/CircusMuseum2.aspx?id=626
    http://emuseum.ringling.org/emuseum/view/objects/asimages/search$0040swgdepartment$$IS_STRICT$$ARCHIVES$002Aclassification$$IS_STRICT$$POSTERS

  2. Janet Zack

    Hi Steven,
    There is a wonderful temporary exhibition at the Cincinnati Art Museum right now, “The Amazing American Circus Poster” running from February 26, 2011 – July 10, 201. It then travels to the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. It’s definitely worth seeing. The illustrations and lithography are beautiful!
    Janet
    p.s. I think there is an exhibition catalogue, too.
    http://www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org/absolutenm/templates/ArtTempExhibitions.aspx?articleid=992&zoneid=65
    “The Amazing American Circus Poster features 80 circus posters created between 1878 and 1939, along with materials related to circus advertising. Cincinnati-based Strobridge Lithographing Company, which created all the posters in this exhibition, and became the leading printer for the major circuses of this time. The posters designed and printed by Strobridge were unrivaled for their quality, and contain a detailed portrait of the American circus in its “Golden Age,” when it flourished as a vital institution for cultural entertainment in this country.”

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