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Photo, Print, Drawing Portrait of Paul and Louis Fratellini.

About this Item


  • Portrait of Paul and Louis Fratellini.


  • This photograph, taken about 1908 in the Hamburg photography studio of Theodore Reimers, shows Louis Fratellini (1867-1909) and Paul Fratellini (1877-1939 or 1940), the two eldest brothers of a famous circus clown family. The four Fratellini brothers worked in pairs in acts at the Cirque d'Hiver (Winter Circus) in Paris, directed by Charles Franconi, until it closed in 1907. The closing caused Louis and Paul to split and tour separately. In 1909, Louis died of smallpox in Warsaw, where he was working for Circus Ciniselli. After his death, Paul, François (1879-1951), and Albert (1886-1961) reunited to found the famous Trio Fratellini, which achieved a resounding success in 1923 by winning the Officiers d'Académie award. Of Italian origin but naturalized citizens of France, the brothers were associated for many years with the Cirque Medrano in Paris. They achieved international success as clowns, acrobats, and musicians, thanks to the originality of their vast repertoire. The delicacy of their art gained them the esteem of Jacques Copeau, Jean Cocteau, and other contemporary artists and intellectuals. In the 1930s they became owners of a circus named Cirque Fratellini, which mostly performed in theaters. The trio was distinguished throughout its career for intense social and voluntary activity in hospitals. The brothers were pioneers in therapeutic clowning who earned many awards from the Italian Red Cross for their support of the organization. Paul's death early in World War II led to a gradual retirement of the two youngest brothers, whose career ended with the passing of François in 1951. However, the family tradition was continued by François's three children in an act called The Craddocks at Cirque Medrano and elsewhere, and by Annie, granddaughter of Paul and founder of the Fratellini Circus Academy in 1974 in Paris.


  • Reimers, Theodore Photographer.

Created / Published

  • Hamburg : Theodore Reimers, 1908.


  • -  1908
  • -  Actors
  • -  Clowns
  • -  Entertainers
  • -  Fratellini, Louis, 1867-1909
  • -  Fratellini, Paul, 1877-1940
  • -  Portrait photographs
  • -  Portraits
  • -  Theatrical makeup


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  Original resource extent: 1 photograph ; 16.5 x 10.5 centimeters.
  • -  Original resource at: Educational Documentation Centre of Circus Arts (CEDAC).
  • -  Content in German.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.


  • 1 online resource.

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021670961

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

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Credit Line: [Original Source citation], World Digital Library

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Reimers, Theodore Photographer. Portrait of Paul and Louis Fratellini. , 1908. Hamburg: Theodore Reimers. Photograph.

APA citation style:

Reimers, T. P. (1908) Portrait of Paul and Louis Fratellini. , 1908. Hamburg: Theodore Reimers. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Reimers, Theodore Photographer. Portrait of Paul and Louis Fratellini. Hamburg: Theodore Reimers. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.