Chagall’s Le Cirque
June 14 – September 8, 2019
‘For me, a circus is a magic show that appears and disappears like a world. These clowns, bareback riders and acrobats have made themselves at home in my visions. Why? Why am I so touched by their make-up and their grimaces? With them I can move towards new horizons.’ –Marc Chagall
For Marc Chagall, the circus stage was the ideal setting for the dreamlike, extraordinary acts ever-present in his art. In Le Cirque, he summoned the spectacle of the circus experience in all its colorful variety — clowns, acrobats and women riding bareback, stands brimming with onlookers — as a vivid metaphor for the sometimes precarious artist-lifestyle he had decided to lead. With time, the circus came to lie at the very heart of his personal mythology and became symbolic of the human condition.
Le Cirque consists of 23 color and 15 black-and-white lithographs published in 1967 by Tériade Éditions. The whimsical prints will be accompanied by a display that explores Wisconsin’s grand circus history, and celebrates the tradition of Milwaukee’s Great Circus Parade.
Marc Chagall’s Le Cirque series is on loan from the permanent collection of the Manitowoc-based Rahr-West Art Museum.
Exhibit Sponsors: Brico Fund, Greater Milwaukee Foundation – The Robert L. and Dolores Schlossmann Fund, Anonymous*, Kohl Philanthropies, Milwaukee Arts Board, Suzy B. Ettinger*, Nita Soref*, The Gerald & Louise Stein Family*, Clarice S. Turer Charitable Fund, Debra & Moshe Katz, Drs. Jane & Ellis Avner, Karen E. Loeb*, Young Leadership Division of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, Neena & Rick Florsheim, Ovation Chai Point and Ovation Jewish Home, Anonymous, Sharon & Richard Canter*, Buzz Monkeys (*Donor Advised Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation) / Media Sponsor: Shepherd Express
This project is supported in part by a grant from the Milwaukee Arts Board and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin.
To become an Exhibit Sponsor, contact the Museum’s Executive Director, Patti Sherman-Cisler, at 414-390-5730 or donate online.
Images: (left) Portfolio # M-512 © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris, (right) Portfolio # M-493 © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.
Opening Preview of Chagall’s Le Cirque
Thursday, June 13, 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Be part of a rare opportunity to experience Marc Chagall’s legendary Le Cirque portfolio. Iconic attributes of Chagall’s creations – his quintessential use of vivid color, dreamlike composition and fanciful characters – befittingly capture his lure to the circus and its emblematic encapsulation of the human condition.
Big Top Chagall Shebang
Sunday, June 23, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Bring your ‘greatest showman’ for a day celebrating all things circus, with activities for carnies of all ages, including lessons in juggling, hula hooping and circus-inspired dance. Then get twisted with some balloon twisting, cirque makeup and a make-your-own-circus print workshop.
The Flight Portfolio with Best-Selling Author Julie Orringer
Tuesday, July 16, 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Best-selling author of The Invisible Bridge, Julie Orringer, is coming to Milwaukee to expound on her newly published historical novel, The Flight Portfolio. The Flight Portfolio is based on the true story of Varian Fry’s extraordinary attempt to save the work, and the lives, of Jewish artists fleeing the Holocaust such as Marc Chagall, Marchel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Hannah Arendt, Franz Werfel and André Breton.
Gallery Night / Gallery Day
Friday, July 19, 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Saturday, July 20, 12:00 – 4:00 PM
*Regular Museum Admission Applies for Saturday
Be part of a rare opportunity to experience Marc Chagall’s legendary Le Cirque portfolio on Gallery Night/Day! Iconic attributes of Chagall’s creations – his quintessential use of vivid color, dreamlike composition and fanciful characters – befittingly capture his lure to the circus and its emblematic encapsulation of the human condition.
Inspired Travel: Circus World Baraboo
Wednesday, July 24, 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Meet at River Hills Park & Ride (located at I-43 and Brown Deer Rd.)
Did you know that more than 100 circuses began in Wisconsin? Join Jewish Museum Milwaukee to celebrate Wisconsin’s long-standing circus tradition with a behind-the-scenes tour of Circus World in Baraboo, the major participant in the Great Circus Parade held in Milwaukee from 1963 to 2009.
Pop-Up Gallery: The Circus in Modern Art
Thursday, August 1, 6:00 – 8:30 PM
Wine Reception: 6:00 / Lecture: 7:00 PM
In partnership with David Barnett Gallery, Jewish Museum Milwaukee explores the long-time fascination of artists with the circus by highlighting art from the David Barnett Gallery collection. Celebrate the life of the circus with a wine reception followed by a lecture on the artistic and cultural environment from which these circus-themed artworks emerged. The Pop-Up Gallery will be on view at Jewish Museum Milwaukee from Friday, August 2 to Sunday, September 1.
Lunch & Learn: Wisconsin’s Great and Hidden Circus History
Friday, August 23, 11:45 AM – 1:30 PM
Join renowned Milwaukee journalist and author Meg Jones to learn how Wisconsin became an epicenter for circuses, how Wisconsin’s worst tornado in terms of loss of life was due in part to the circus and how elephants became the gold standard for circuses, and ultimately the downfall for Ringling Brothers.