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Sneak Peek: The Ringling Museum’s “The Amazing American Circus Poster” Exhibit

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Share on TwitterThis Saturday, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art opens The Amazing American Circus Poster: The Strobridge Lithography Company, 1879-1939. The exhibit, which showcases the circus’ influence on American culture, runs from Sept. 17 to Jan. 29, and features 80 posters that were originally distributed throughout the country advertising cities’ circus days—a […]

September 14, 2011


This Saturday, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art opens The Amazing American Circus Poster: The Strobridge Lithography Company, 1879-1939. The exhibit, which showcases the circus’ influence on American culture, runs from Sept. 17 to Jan. 29, and features 80 posters that were originally distributed throughout the country advertising cities’ circus days—a holiday, explains exhibit co-curator Deborah Walk, that was almost as important to Americans as the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving or Christmas. “Visitors can see the immense impact the circus had on American culture and how advertising techniques have changed since then as the pace of our lives have sped up.”

We got a sneak peek of the exhibit before it opens to the public—here are some of the posters you’ll see when you go.

Edward Henry Potthast, 1857-1927

The Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth

Equestrienne and Clown

Copyright 1908, The Strobridge Litho. Co.

The John and Mable Ringling of Art, Howard Tibbals-Harold Dunn Collection

Howard Sharp, 1878-1952
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows
Gargantua the Great
Copyright The Strobridge Litho. Co.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Howard Tibbals Collection

Ringling Bros. Shows
Hillary Long
Copyright 1917, The Strobridge Litho. Co.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

P.T. Barnum’s Greatest Show on Earth and The Great London Circus Jumbo
Copyright 1883, The Strobridge Litho. Co.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Howard Tibbals Collection

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows
Dainty Miss Leitzel, World’s Most Marvelous Lady Gymnast
Copyright 1920, The Strobridge Litho. Co.
Cincinnatti Art Museum, Gift of the Strobridge Lithographing Company