One Ring Circus

Hondius--One Ring Circus.jpg
HondiusGerrit - One Ring Circus.JPG

Dublin Core


One Ring Circus


In circular composition, we behold a miniature world. Three glamorous horseback performers; a clown and his costumed dog at lower left; a crowd of spectators beholding the action: all orbit around a circular red carpet. At right is an ambiguous figure that may be a clown, dwarf, or even the show's impresario. Hondius, like many other modernist painters, was fascinated by circuses for their picturesque qualities, and perhaps moreso for the marginal lives gathered under a tent.

About the Artist: Born in Kampen, Netherlands, Hondius studied at the Royal Academy in The Hague and the Laren Art Colony before fleeing Europe to the US in 1915 (he became a citizen in 1939). In New York, he studied at the Art Students League with Max Weber and Andrew Dasburg. Thereafter he divided his time between New York and Provincetown, MA. He exhibited at Whitney Museum (1924-26,1932,1934,1945) and at numerous solo shows. A reputation for melancholic paintings seems to have been at least partly grounded in his temperamental personality, but they were ambitiously expressionist in their conception. Of a 1931 show at the New Art Circle, New York City, one critic wrote of his circus paintings that Hondius was “a painter not of the picturesque, but of the pictorial, of those moments when forms suspended in space describe an arabesque, an arabesque slightly twisted through strain, caught in no flashy decorative way, but rather enmeshed in those filaments of imperctibly changing light and color which only the artist’s eye can detect. In this transformation of the swift pace of the circus into something which at first seems an arresting of all movement, and is then seen to be a far subtler suggestion of the endless flow of matter, from its densest to most volatile form, there is a touch of melancholy, just as there is a somber tinge in the reflections of Lucretius on the nature of things” (Klein). 3 works at Smithonsian American Art Museum. 1 work at Whitney Museum of American Art. 3 works at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. 12 works at Benton Museum Art Collection. 6 images at FAP. His papers are at the Archives of American Art.

Source Consulted: Jerome Klein, “Paintings of Hondius in New York,” Baltimore Sun 15 Feb. 1931: 71.


Hondius, Gerrit, 1891-1970


Federal Art Project




Ritz, Abigail (photography)

Cooper, Ken (biography)


New Deal Gallery, Genesee Valley Council on the Arts

Object #FA18175


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Still image



Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Oil painting

Physical Dimensions

24 x 30 in.
Condition: surface dirt, spotted