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John Ringling: Art Collector

Electronic Articles

All articles are available through FSU databases.

“Mr. Ringling Patron of the Arts.” The American Magazine of Art, vol. 19, no. 5, 1928, Accessed 10 June 2019.

  • This is a very short article announcing John Ringling as a collector and his plan to build and open the Museum. The author also discusses Ringling’s acquisition of the Cypriot collection from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which Ringling had secured earlier that same year.

“The Ringling Art Museum and School.” The American Magazine of Art, vol. 23, no. 4, 1931, Accessed 10 June 2019.

  • This is a short newspaper-length magazine article detailing The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art as it was when it was first completed. The author (not named in the database) paints a vivid picture of the estate, from the courtyard, loggias, and the pink stucco structure to the entrance, the Rubens Gallery, and the north and south wings. The author also briefly discusses John Ringling’s original plan for his school of art, which, according to the article, was set to open October 1, 1931.

“RINGLING DEDICATES SARASOTA MUSEUM: Turns Over His Gift of More Than 700 Works to the Art School of Southern College.” New York Times (1923-Current file), Oct 3, 1931, pp. 12. ProQuest,

  • This article is a report of John Ringling’s dedication of his 700 works of art and other art objects to the museum’s School of Fine and Applied Art. A ceremony was held in the courtyard of the museum, during which the president of the School accepted the museum dedication.

“JOHN RINGLING DIES OF PNEUMONIA AT 70: Organizer of Great Circus Business Succumbs to Illness at Home Here. Last of the ‘Brothers’ Father’s Harness Sale Started Them on Career That Led to ‘Greatest Show on Earth.” New York Times (1923-Current file), Dec 2, 1936, pp. 27. ProQuest,

  • Printed on the day of his death, this lengthy news article provides background on John Ringling’s life and goes into detail about his circus endeavors. A small portion at the end—only two paragraphs—highlights Ringling’s passion for collecting art and very briefly mentions the John and Mable Ringling Memorial Museum, an incorrect printing of the museum name.

“RINGLING’S MUSEUM IS LEFT TO FLORIDA: Sarasota Art Collection is Said to Have Been Valued at $20,000,000.” New York Times (1923-Current file), Dec 10, 1936, pp. 28. ProQuest,

  • Printed only several days after his death, this article states the contemporaneous value of John Ringling’s art collection and briefly explains his bequest to the State of Florida.

Russell, John. "GALLERY VIEW: John Ringling—The Circus Man Who Built a House of Art." New York Times (1923-Current file), 19 April 1981, pp. 1. ProQuest,

  • This article briefly celebrates The Ringling Museum of Art and several of the paintings acquired by John Ringling in association with a contemporaneous New York exhibition featuring paintings from The Ringling. Russell cleverly speculates Ringling’s motives for purchasing certain paintings, such as Piero di Cosimo’s Building a Palace.

The Ringling. “Conserving John Ringling’s Library.” The Ringling, 2 June 2017, Accessed 10 June 2019.

  • John Ringling’s personal library was kept at Ca d’Zan for many years without air conditioning or humidity control, and while most of his books are in remarkably good condition, some have required conservation. This article looks at one in particular, a portfolio of a portrait of the Marquis of Granby by Sir Joshua Reynolds, which John Ringling purchased in 1927. The painting is now on view in the Museum of Art.

---. “Library Research Recovers John Ringling’s Collection.” The Ringling, 14 Sept. 2017, Accessed 10 June 2019.

  • This article, published by The Ringling Blog, provides a sneak-peak of John Ringling’s personal library, housed in a separate room in The Ringling Art Library. Ringling’s personal collection was discovered in Ca d’Zan and now, roughly 630 of the volumes the Ringlings owned are conserved by the Art Library.
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