About This Artwork

Jean Louis Forain
French, 1852-1931

Tight-Rope Walker, c. 1885

Oil on canvas
46.2 x 38.2 cm (18 1/8 x 15 in.)
Inscribed lower left: Forain

Gift of Mrs. Emily Crane Chadbourne, 1951.208

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Art Institute of Chicago, A Century of Progress: Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, June 1–November 1, 1933, cat. 264.

Springfield, Massachusetts, Museum of Fine Arts, Jean-Louis Forain, 1852–1931: Exhibition of Paintings, April 15–May 20, 1956, cat. 7.

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Variations on a Theme by Artists of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, August 4–30, 1959, cat. 20; traveled to San Francisco, California Palace of Legion of Honor, September 12–October 12, 1959.

New York, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Jean-Louis Forain, 1852–1931, March 7–April 1, 1967, cat. 21.

Ann Arbor, Michigan, University of Michigan Museum of Art, The Crisis of Impressionism, 1878–1882, November 2, 1979–January 6, 1980, cat. 20.

Milwaukee Art Museum, Center Ring: The Artist, Two Centuries of Circus Art, May 7–June 28, 1981, cat. 37; traveled to Columbus Museum of Art, August 30–October 11, 1981; Albany, New York, New York State Museum, December 11, 1981–March 7, 1982; Washington, D.C., The Corcoran Gallery of Art, April 24–June 6, 1982.

Tokyo, Seibu Museum of Art, The Impressionist Tradition: Masterpieces from The Art Institute of Chicago, October 18–December 17, 1985, cat. 32; traveled to Fukuoka, Fukuoka Art Museum, January 5–February 2, 1986 and Kyoto, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, March 4–April 13, 1986.
Frankfurt, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Die Eroberung der Strasse: von Monet bis Grosz, June 15–September 3, 2006.

Essen, Germany, Museum Folkwang, Bilder einer Metropole: Die Impressionisten in Paris, October 2, 2010–January 30, 2011, cat. 23.

Paris, Petit Palais, Jean-Louis Forain (1852–1931): La comédie parisienne, March 10–June 5, 2011, cat. 64; traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, June 26–October 9, 2011, cat. 70.

New York, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Seurat's Circus Sideshow from February 15-May 29, 2017

Publication History

“Gifts and Loans,” Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago 22, 6 (1928), p. 82.

Daniel Catton Rich, “Forain,” Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago 25, 7 (1931), pp. 96, 99 (ill.).

Art Institute of Chicago, A Guide to the Paintings in the Permanent Collection (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1932), p. 191.

Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago: A Catalogue of the Picture Collection (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1961), p. 162.

Lillian Browse, Forain the Painter 1852–1931 (London: Elek Books Limited, 1978), pp. 24, 98, 123 (ill.), no. 7.

Joel Isaacson, The Crisis of Impressionism, 1878–1882, exh. cat. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Museum of Art, 1980), pp. 104 (ill.), 105, 106 under no. 21, cat. 20.

Dean Jensen, “The Artist as Spectator,” in Dean Jensen, Center Ring: The Artist, Two Centuries of Circus Art, exh. cat. (Milwaukee: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1981), pp. 61, 63 (ill.).

Alicia Faxon, “Jean-Louis Forain: Artist, Realist, Humanist,” in Yves Baker and Alicia Faxon, Jean-Louis Forain: Artist, Realist, Humanist, exh. cat. (Baltimore: International Exhibitions Foundation, 1982), p. 18.

Richard R. Brettell, French Impressionists (New York and Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago and Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1987), pp. 64 (ill.), 65.

Kathleen Adler, Unknown Impressionists (Oxford: Phaidon Press Limited, 1988), pp. 121 (ill.), 122–3.

Michael Howard, ed. Impressionists by Themselves (London: Conran Octopus, 1991), p. 222 (ill.).

Art Institute of Chicago, Treasures of 19th- and 20th-Century Painting (New York: Abbeville Press, 1993), p. 79 (ill.).

Françoise Cachin, “Paris leuchtet,” in Museum Folkwang, Bilder einer Metropole: Die Impressionisten in Paris, exh. cat. (Essen: Museum Folkwang, 2010), pp. 248, 283 (ill.), cat. 23.

Joëlle Raineau, “Chronique d’une vie Parisienne en plein air,” in Petit Palais, Jean-Louis Forain (1852–1931): La comédie parisienne, exh. cat. (Paris: Petit Palais, 2011), p. 80; English translation, exh. cat. (Memphis: Dixon Gallery and Gardens, 2011), p. 80.

Ownership History

Emily Crane Chadbourne, Washington D. C.; on loan to the Art Institute from 1928 [according to Registrar records]; given to the Art Institute, 1951.




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