Au Cirque Fernando: L’Écuyère (1887-1888)

Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri de (1864-1901)

Au Cirque Fernando: L’Écuyère (At the Cirque Fernando: The Horsewoman)
Oil on canvas, 100.3 × 161.3 cm
Art Institute of ChicagoChicago

This work, set at a circus, captures the tense moment in which a female trick rider prepares to stand up on her horse and leap through a paper hoop held by a clown. The horse gathers speed, spurred on by the whip of famous ringmaster Monsieur Loyal. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec may have based the garishly made-up rider, dressed in a tutu of gauze and sequins, on Suzanne Valadon, a former circus performer, model, and artist with whom he had a nearly three-year relationship. The rider seems to snarl at Monsieur Loyal, who glares back at her. Toulouse-Lautrec’s setting is the same circus in Montmartre depicted in Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s portrait of the Wartenberg sisters. (AIC)


Degas, Edgar (1834-1917)
Miss La La au Cirque Fernando
National GalleryLondon



Degas, Edgar (1834-1917)
Miss Lala au Cirque Fernando
Tate BritainLondon



Renoir, Auguste (1841-1919)
Acrobates au cirque Fernando
Art Institute of ChicagoChicago



Seurat, Georges (1859-1891)
Le Cirque
Musée d’OrsayParis



See also:

• Montmartre | Paris (France) | Valadon, Suzanne (1865-1938)