CIRCUS: The Photographs of Frederick W. Glasier

Edited by Peter Kayafas and Deborah W. Walk
Essay by Lucy Sante


This elegant new volume showcases the rediscovered work of the great American photographer Frederick W. Glasier, who made extraordinary photographs of the American circus during its heyday, 1890-1925. A contemporary of such recognized masters as Eugene Atget in Paris, August Sander in Cologne and Ernest J. Bellocq in New Orleans, Glasier is arguably in that class of the greatest practitioners of the medium. With 73 gloriously reproduced images from the 1,700 existing glass plate negatives from the collections of the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Florida State University, informative anecdotal captions by the circus historian (and co-editor of this volume) Deborah W. Walk and a fascinating essay by Luc Sante, this book will establish Glasier in the canon of the great American photographers from the 20th century.

"Glasier's circus world is the magnificent realization of everything we have ever thought we knew about the circus, more classic and sexy and dignified and strange than anything we are likely to have seen in our own experience. . . . a thrilling and heartbreaking show."
–Luc Sante, essay from the book

"One of the most beautiful art books of recent years. . . . makes the strongest possible case for Glasier as a major figure in early twentieth-century photography. . ."
–Jed Perl, The New Republic

ISBN 978-0-87130-068-3


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Design and typography by Catherine Waters; Image interpretation by John T. Hill; Production coordination by X.L. Homer; Printed and bound by Trifolio S.R.L., Verona, Italy.

168 pages, 73 tritones, 12.5 x 12 inches

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Review "Photo Exhibit Captures Early Days of the Circus" by Walt Belcher The Tampa Tribune, Tampa, FL
May 25, 2013
Review “Circus: The Photographs of Frederick W. Glasier” by Luc Sante The Design Observer Group, New York, NY
September 22, 2010
Review “The Modern High-Wire” by Jed Perl The New Republic
June 18, 2010
Review “Ringling Photo Exhibit Features Turn-of-the-Century Circus Performers” by January Holmes Bradenton Herald, Bradenton, FL
May 9, 2010
Review “Discovering the Soul of the Ringlings’ Circus” by Shane Dixon Kavanaugh The New York Times Lens Blog, New York, NY
April 5, 2010
Review "Frederick W. Glasier's – American Circus" by Richard Renaldi Richard Renaldi's Photography Blog
January 24, 2009
Review “Rare circus photos come to Tampa Bay History Center” by Lennie Bennett Tampa Bay Times; Tampa Bay, FL

May 21, 2013

Resource Glasier Photographic Collection

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

Resource Circus Historical Society
Lecture Glass Plates and High-diving Horses: Photographs of the American Circus A Discussion with Luc Sante and Peter Kayafas
The Bard Graduate Center, New York, New York
Lecture An Evening at the Circus A Discussion with Peter Kayafas and Deborah W. Walk
The New England Society in the City of New York, New York, NY
Lecture Spotlight On... HEYDAY: The Photographs of Frederick W. Glasier By Peter Kayafas and Deborah Walk
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL
May 14, 2010
Event 2010 Winner of the Frances Smyth-Ravenel Prize for Excellence in Publication Design The American Association of Museum Publications Design, Washington, D.C.
Event Nominated for the 2011 Katharine Kyes Leab & Daniel J. Leab American Book Prices Current Exhibition Award Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, A Division of the American Library Association
Exhibition "HEYDAY: Photographs of Frederick W. Glasier" The John & Mable Ringling Museum, Sarasota, FL
May 15 - September 6, 2010
Exhibition HEYDAY: Frederick W. Glasier's American Circus 1890-1925, Photographs and Posters from the Collections of The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art UBS Gallery, New York, NY
November 13, 2008 - January 23, 2009