"Baggage Stock" 1985 #121 (private collection)

"Baggage Stock" 1985 #121 (private collection)

A Hoosier artist who captured the “drama, pathos (and) comedy of the Big Top,” Robert Weaver devoted much of his career to depicting circus themes, ranging from clowns, musicians, acrobats, and bareback riders to horse-drawn caravans, floats, and teams of elephants. Admired for their strong draftsmanship and rich colorism, his paintings capture the splendor and excitement of the great American circus, and function as an important visual record of an institution that has all but vanished.
— from The Spirit of America: American Art from 1829 - 1970, Spanierman Gallery Exhibition 2003

This website is devoted to American artist Robert Edward Weaver (REW). REW lead an eventful life that included much more than easel time, although there was almost never an hour in the day that Weaver was not working in his sketch pad to translate his thoughts into an artistic expression.

Weaver won success as a young artist living in New York City, as a result of winning the top single prize in America for painters of the time, The John Armstrong Chaloner Prize, in 1937. During his early period of work, REW received critical acclaim from artists Gifford Beal, Mahonri Young, and Edward Hopper. In the spring of 1938, REW was elected to life membership at the Grand Central Galleries in New York City. Weaver was one of 3 to be accepted that year out of 400 applicants. That same year, Weaver was also the recipient of the Julius Hallgarten Prize at the National Academy of Design, the youngest artist to date to win that award. Personal challenges, and changes in his life following service in World War II drew Weaver back home to Indiana, where he found solace, and the inspiration to illustrate the end of one of the region's great institutions...the circus. 

Weaver grew up in Peru, Indiana, home to the American Circus Corporation. As a boy, he was exposed to the many performers of all nationalities that frequented his father's general store. He became obsessed with the folklore of the early American circuses, and the fantastic environment that they brought to each town during their season of travel. The traveling circus became an elixir to REW, and informed many of his works. The images on this website are the result of one man's wish to capture moments and people in time.

In his own words: 

"The American Circus furnished an ingredient so necessary to the growth of our country that it had to be. As America grew up, so grew the circus. The circus was a kind of traveling supermarket which offered a growing America both education and entertainment. It embraced music, dramatics, history, science, logistics, management, et cetera, and it reached out to the most remote corners of our land. It was the one thing that man could hope and dream about, and know it would always come true.  In essence, the circus offers in a small space a total life image from which to create."

We invite you to browse this site, and enter the world of Robert Edward Weaver for a short period of time. The site will change periodically to offer the visitor a wider viewpoint of the work of REW. Many works are available for purchase. If you are interested in a work, we would be more than happy to discuss it with you. Please feel free to contact us.

Thank you for visiting.