Amon Carter print details

Three Acrobats

Charles Demuth (1883-1935)

Object Details

  • Date


  • Medium

    Watercolor and graphite on paper

  • Dimensions

    12 15/16 x 7 7/8 in.

  • Credit Line

    Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas

  • Accession Number


  • Copyright

    Public domain

Object Description

In Three Acrobats, two circus performers swing from trapeze bars while a third hangs between them, held at the wrists by his partner. Demuth focuses on the forms of their bodies, obscuring their faces or leaving them undefined. His thin pencil underdrawing traces well-defined muscles, while vivid washes of pink, red, and tan convey the vigor of bodies in motion.

This painting is one of several circus and vaudeville scenes that Demuth completed between 1915 and 1919. Depicting dangerous and difficult stunts, these works were a balancing act for the artist as well. Throughout his career, Demuth explored various approaches toward the theme of same-sex desire in his art, but he risked arrest, blackmail, and violence if his sexual orientation became known to authorities. If he wanted to express such themes in art intended for public view, he needed to do so indirectly, filtering depictions of male sensuality through socially accepted subject matter such as the circus.

—Text taken from the Carter Handbook (2023)

Additional details

Location: Off view
See more by Charles Demuth


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