Red Clown

WillmontC - The Red Clown.JPG

Dublin Core


Red Clown


A clown dressed in a red costume and ruffled collar holds up a game of Tic-Tac-Toe to play with a dog—or is it a pig, given the body shape and curly tail? Behind them, a large crowd under a big-top tent watches the two perform. It’s not entirely clear what the clown’s gesture signifies, nor what the animal is supposed to do next. Willmott imparts colorful detail to the clown’s eyes, face and makeup, to the props of his trade. As with the work of fellow NDG artist Gerrit Hondius, there may be overtones of social criticism in circus paintings during the Great Depression.

About the Artist: Born in New York to immigrants from England, Willmott grew up in Queens and studied at the Hartford Art School during the early 1930s. His varied subject matter and style was criticized, at a 1932 exhibit, for “going in too many directions at once....Each canvas is almost a new departure from every other one” (New York Evening Post 12 Mar. 1932: 3). Such eclecticism may have been better suited for commercial illustration, as in a puzzle book by F. E. Menaker entitled How Smart Are You? (1935). There may have been other such work not yet identified. 5 more images at FAP.


Willmott, Cyril, 1907-1968








Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Oil painting

Physical Dimensions

24 x 30 in.
Condition: pitted, pen marks, surface dirt