Robert Riggs, On Stage Four
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.
Dressed as clowns, slap boxers Billy DeNaro and Chesty Mortier dramatically slug each other while spectators, and a costumed dachshund, watch. “Stage four” refers to one of numerous stages in a circus tent—specifically, the platform located near the entrance.