RENOIR, Pierre-Auguste
(b, 1841, Limoges, d. 1919, Cagnes-sur-Mer)

Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando

Oil on canvas, 132 x 100 cm
Art Institute, Chicago

The Cirque Fernando was established in 1875, in 1890 it was renamed Cirque Medrano. It was a major attraction for Montmartre artists. The Cirque Fernando had its pitch on the Boulevard Rochechouart. In 1894 it was redesigned as a theatre. Included among its regular guests were Lautrec, and also Degas, Renoir and Seurat, who decorated the rooms with their paintings.

The present painting features Francisca Wartenberg (left) and her sister, Angelina (right), members of an itinerant German acrobatic troupe. Ages 17 and 14, respectively, the girls take their bows after a performance.