CIRCUS MURAL AND SIGN PAINTER ARCHIVE, NORMAN SYNREX OF THE ROYAL AMERICAN SHOWS, 1950’s-70’s
There are seventy-eight black and white and color photographs, and some newspaper clippings and ephemera, in this fun, fantastical grouping. The archive is a collection of photos of carnival paintings – of signs and banners, murals on the sides of traveling trucks, paintings on booths and kiosks, a faux-cave painted on the walls above a stage, paintings advertising beer in restaurants, and more. The painter of these fabulous attractions was one Norman Synrex of Florida, who had a career painting for the Royal American Shows, as pictured. Photos vary in size; many are 3.5” x 3.5” polaroids or smaller, with a few larger photos as well. Pictured are painted sexy women and “exotic” girls, cartoons, musicians, lion tamers, clowns, entire scenes and more. Also included in the album are a few photos of the circus set-up and attractions themselves: musicians performing on his painted stage, mannequins dressed in “exotic” costume, a tiger cub on a leash, the shrunken body of a “Fee-Gee Mermaid”, as well as scaffolding and rides. A few newspaper clippings show photos and mention of Norman’s work, for both the Royal American Shows and a local art gallery. Included as well is a signed flyer for the Terrell Jacobs Wild Animal Circus of Peru, Indiana, with signature reading “To the greatest painter in show business, personal regards, Terrell Jacobs”. The archive includes pages with pasted photos as well as loose. Some photos have been trimmed , a few have tears, surface wear or black paper remnants on the verso. Photos range from 1950’s – 70’s and it is a remarkable collection.