It’s a circus poster! What child doesn’t love the colors and promised excitement of the circus? This artwork would look great in a child’s room. And Leo, my heavy, handsome lion, is ready to stand guard.
Let me back up, though. I visited an estate sale at the home of an adult circus enthusiast. Circus plates, figurines, even vinyl records–this house had it all. I bought the poster, selecting it from many, because it looked visually arresting but more importantly it was the one I could afford.
This poster features Madame Olympia Desvall, a German-born equestrian. A New York Times article from 1907 described Madame as a “graceful rider with a troup [sic] of well-trained dogs.” Her Barnum & Bailey act included horses, ponies, and birds, all of which followed her around the ring, performing various tricks. Look at those dogs somersaulting and spinning in wheels. One horse has wings. Just how high can he soar?
But Madame and menagerie needed a frame, which David produced after scouting out a few sales. Plain oak with a band of white linen. Nothing special to see here. In fact, the whole thing is rather a yawn.
I painted it with ASCP Old Ochre and used Arles on the linen band but haven’t added wax yet in this photo:
It still wasn’t where it needed to be, so I added Clear Wax followed by Dark Wax to warm it up and give it some age. It’s hard to see the wax on the left side of the photo below because light washes it out. A mat and glass came next, secured at a new local frame shop. I love how the complete package turned out. The frame and mat are neutral enough to draw the eye to the vivid circus colors.
We carried the artwork into our booth at Avonlea Antique Mall and positioned the mighty Leo next to it. I really hope they can be sold as a set. Leo’s body color matches the linen stripe on the frame. Good luck, Madame, wherever your new adventures lead you. Take Leo with you.
Ann Marie and David