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April 22, 2013

NPM Ekphrastic Poem #4

Click on the image to make it larger. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Painting by Maurice Prendergast (1895) courtesy The Athenaeum.

The artist, Maurice Prendergast was raised near Boston, and many of his works depict Boston area locales. I'm not sure what circus this painting represents, but a quick search showed me that the McCart's Circus was in Boston in December, 1894, and the Ringling Bros. Circus was in Boston in June, 1895. A little more research showed me that a man who had been born in Lowell, MA, George W. Hall, moved to Wisconsin and became a circus owner, his wife and children also were circus people. With George's help, his son Charles, started his own circus, and his sister Jessie's husband, performer Frank McCart, traveled with Charles' circus. Charles' circus also was known as a "Grand Railroad Show." I didn't spend a lot of time looking for an answer to my question, "was the circus that came to Boston in 1894, the Grand Railroad Show?" Anyway, I think it's possible that the circus performers painted by Prendergast were those in the Hall/McCart troupe who had come east to dad's old stomping grounds. Who knows? I didn't use any of this found information in my poem, however, I simply imagined the girl in the tutu had run away with the circus!

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