barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

The Cirque Fernando – Architectural Study 

France, c. 1879

Pencil, black and red chalk on two sheets of joined pink paper


A study for the architectural background of ‘La La at the Cirque Fernando’.

The Cirque Fernando was built in 1875 on the Boulevard de Rouchechouart in Paris, the creation of Ferdinand Beert, or ‘Fernando’. Due to its proximity to Montmartre, the circus attracted many artists, including Degas, Renoir and Lautrec, who studied the performers in action. Mrs Fernando, who managed the box office, allowed the artists to work in the circus during rehearsals and watch the performers free of charge. This study focuses on the architectural background for Degas’s painting La La at the Cirque Fernando (1879) now in the National Gallery, London. Degas’s inscription states that ‘the rafters are more slanting’.

Purchased 1938 (No. 38.10)

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