20th Century
Cirque Bouglione

Gouache on paper
Image size: 9 3/4 x 13 1/2 inches (24.75 x 34.25 cm)

Original artwork for a well-known French circus.

The ‘Cirque d’Hiver-Bouglione’ ran from 1934 and was operated by the Bouglione brothers and later their heirs. The venue was located in Paris and was a prominent venue for circuses. The theatre where the events were shown was designed by the architect Jacques Ignace Hittorff and was opened by Emperor Napoleon III in 1852 as the ‘Cirque Napoleon’.

The first Bouglione family performance staged big cats. In 1910 Joseph, known as Sampion Bouglione, was even rescued by his son during one of the big cat routines. After their purchase of the Cirque d’Hiver in 1934 the Bouglione name became inseparable with the circus. After they assumed management of the circus they had success after success and repeated performances of well-performing pantomimes, such as ‘La Perle du Bengale’, combined with big top national tours.

The 1950s were marked by the Bouglione’s family’s stamp of internationalisation, offering a wide variety of performances around the world. The family would continue touring throughout France with their big top circus tents until the early 1980s.