During his career, Reynolds Beal traveled extensively, which resulted in countless imagery of faraway lands. Yet he and his brother Gifford found some of their favorite material in their own backyard and often in the form of traveling circuses that popped up along the eastern seaboard from New York to Massachusetts. The troupes, promising exotic animals, entertaining clown acts and amazing human feats, were at the peak of popularity in the early twentieth century and created both a means of escape and a little excitement for the townsfolk. Beal’s charming Sparks Circus, Gloucester portrays a pair of the colorful wagons that helped transport the company to Gloucester in June of 1931, along with the giant tent under which all the magic of the event took place. While the artist’s characteristic expressive strokes of punchy color reflect an atmosphere of summertime fun, the piece also serves as a souvenir of a carefree pastime whose existence gradually fell into decline due to the effects of the Great Depression.
 See https://classic.circushistory.org/Routes/Sparks1.htm#1931
More information about this painting...
Estate of the artist
With Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. B-355, ca. 1970s
To private collection, Dayton, Ohio, September 1983 to present
- (verso of panel in pencil) Sparks Circus / 1931 / Gloucester
- (verso of panel in pencil) 72
Previous Vose Galleries label, inventory no. B-355