Rogers, John (American, 1829 – 1904). The Traveling Magician. New York, 1878. Fine unglazed plaster sculpture of an itinerant magician producing a rabbit from a hat. A father and son watch enraptured, while a young girl dozes against the conjurer’s table. Meanwhile, a secret assistant holds a pigeon behind the table, in readiness for the next trick. 15 x 15 ½ x 23”. Minor surface chips and flakes not affecting overall quality; rear corner of the stage platform chipped. Rightfully described by The New York Times in 2012 as “the Norman Rockwell of his time,” Rogers’ works powerfully captured everyday scenes and characters of the late nineteenth century. Cast from bronze originals, the relatively inexpensive sculptures were also readily available to a large swath of buyers whose lives they represented. Of the more than 80 “groups” that make up Rogers’ oeuvre, The Traveling Magician is perhaps the most sought-after.
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