Clown Paintings

Museums and art historians have neat, organized categories for art: modern art, renaissance art, landscapes, still lifes, abstract art ... and clown paintings? We've all seen them, the sad clown, the silly clown, the big red nose ... but where do they fit in with regards to art history? Scroll down for more ...

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clown painting hanging in a museum with Rubens and Picasso

What's wrong with this picture? We've got a Peter Paul Rubens painting at left, a Pablo Picasso painting at right, and a clown painting in the middle? Have you ever seen a clown painting in a museum?

Rarely has a famous painter taken on the theme of clowns ... this was not a subject that engaged Matisse, Hopper, Pollock, or others established in the art world. It is most-often the work of amateur painters that make up the genre of clown paintings. Why? What is it about clowns that would attract the attention of the amateur painter but not the gallery-represented painter? There's not really an answer - at least that we can find - to explain this, which makes the genre of clown paintings a bit of a mystery.

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