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Circus Performers’ Rehearsal (Artistenprobe)

A work made of gelatin silver print.

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print.




Umbo (Otto Umbehr)
German, 1902–1980

About this artwork

The German photographer Umbo, capitalizing on the hunger for images provoked by the rise of illustrated magazines, produced this photograph to accompany an article about a circus school in Berlin. At once candid and composed, the image presents a moment behind the scenes: two sitting women with fashionable short-cropped hair, accompanied by a standing male companion who reaches forward to light a cigarette. So steady is his posture that it would be easy to miss the roller skates on his feet. The caption that accompanied the image read: “This is what a performing arts school looks like. Cold rooms—a place for precise, tiring work.”


On View, Gallery 1


Photography and Media


Umbo (Otto Umbehr)


Circus Performers’ Rehearsal (Artistenprobe)


Germany (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1929–1930


Gelatin silver print


Image/paper: 18 × 23.9 cm (7 1/8 × 9 7/16 in.)

Credit Line

Ada Turnbull Hertle Fund; Wirt D. Walker Trust; Gladys N. Anderson, the Mary and Leigh Block Endowment, and Centennial Major Acquisitions Income funds; partial gift of Herbert and Barbara Molderings

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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