Of exceptionally large size (15" x 19 3/4"), this circus scene by Reynolds Beal is mixed media (watercolor, colored pencil, crayon) on heavy light tan paper. Unframed, it comes from a collection that has never been offered for sale and has been in storage for decades. This image is interesting, with the elephant drawn wagon carrying a steam engine and some kind of mechanical apparatus in the center of the work. Circus goers and entertainers stand at the main entrance to the tent, and have no facial features, which is generally the case; the exception here is the strong man or muscle man holding a female circus performer wearing a feathered headdress.
Reynolds Beal (1867-1951) is an important American impressionist artist and brother of Gifford Beal, also an acclaimed artist. Reynolds is known for his marine paintings, drawings, and etchings, as well as landscapes and genre scenes from New England, New York, and from his travels to the Far East, the Caribbean, and other parts of the globe. His Circus scenes are always a delight, featuring the festive atmosphere of traveling circuses in the New England area. He is said to often depict himself in the images, but always portrays the wide array of people, animals and activities that were such a part of these treasured summertime events. It is signed in the lower right corner and dated 1936; the majority of his circus scenes were done from the 1920's to 1940.