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Cameron Booth


Until the late 1940s, Cameron Booth was associated with the Regionalist milieu of Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, and John Steuart Curry. Booth always despised this characterization as he identified himself as a modern even when depicting his native Minnesota landscape, images of horses, or scenes of the Ojibwa. In 1944, with paintings like Clown, Booth gradually began to free himself from the pictorial vocabulary that prevented him from following the career trajectory to which he aspired.

The School of Paris, a style to which Booth certainly subscribed, lost influence to Surrealism and Expressionism, and Clown may respond to the devalued state of French avant-garde styles, as clowns, fools, and harlequins were among the favorite subject matter of those artists. Holding his nose with thumb and forefinger, the clown gestures toward the viewer with playful sarcasm. The theme of colorful, teasing clowns would occupy Booth for two years, as he worked and reworked the composition until the clown gradually disintegrated into the Cubist background to form a single plane of brightly hued, geometric forms.

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