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AnimatorsCartoon Modern

Boris Gorelick Circus Mural on eBay

Boris Gorelick mural

I don’t post links to eBay items frequently, but I can’t resist pointing out this huge, stunning Fifties silkscreen mural by Boris Gorelick (1912-1984), who painted backgrounds at UPA, Warner Bros. and Format Films. Gorelick’s animation work consists exclusively of paintings based on the layouts of other artists, so it is a pleasant surprise to discover that he was such a facile draftsman and that he drew characters so beautifully. The design is busy but never cluttered, and his use of color is bold and imaginative. With so many contemporary artists creating mediocre gallery paintings using a “cartoon modern” style, it’s easy to forget how exciting and interesting a stylized cartoon painting can be. Gorelick had it down.

I’ve written about Gorelick before on the Cartoon Modern blog. He had a fascinating history. Born in Russia, his parents emigrated to the US when he was an infant. He was politically active throughout the 1930s, and hung out with artists like Arshile Gorky, Max Weber and Ben Shahn. In 1935, while creating art for the W.P.A., he made a lithograph of a circus scene that is much darker than the Fifties version, and shows his vastly different approach to drawing in his pre-animation years.

Boris Gorelick lithograph

I checked with the eBay seller, and he said if the reserve isn’t met on the listing, the mural will be available for sale at Izzi Modern which is located in the Vintage Collective showroom in Long Beach, CA.

  • He painted the backgrounds for “Show Biz Bugs” (1957), one of my favorite Bugs and Daffy cartoons.

  • Dave G

    You are not kidding about the glut of mediocrity passing for authentic ‘cartoon modern’ in galleries of late. Boris Gorelick was in a league of his own.

  • The 1935 lithograph uses at least one actual circus performer as a model.

    The clown next to the tuba is Eadward “Gijon Polidor” Guillame, an extremely talented clown from the Ringling show and one of the very best of that era.

  • Aaron

    Do you have any more information on this mural? I found a copy of this circus print in a house I was cleaning out and have not been able to find any information about it. Thanks, Aaron

  • Dan

    Recently found a painting of a vintage circus signed by Boris Gorelick does anyone have a clue as to the value…