Robert Riggs, Baton Twirler

Robert Riggs: Baton Twirler (1930s or 1940s) Gouache on laid paper
Baton Twirler
1930s or 1940s
Gouache on laid paper
Credit Line
Gift of Clare W. Gargalli and Robert B. Waterhouse in memory of Dr. Robert B. Waterhouse, 1983
13 ¾" x 10 ¼"

An avid circusgoer from a young age, Robert Riggs began making lithographs of the performances in 1933. When Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus traveled to Philadelphia, the artist went twice a day to sketch members of the troupe onstage and off, befriending many of them. His prints portray recognizable circus characters.

Riggs made at least three paintings of African American baton twirlers (Woodmere’s collection also includes ). This picture is an intimate study of the performer. The artist shows her with her arms extended and body tightly bent, focusing on her athleticism and physique.

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