Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Historical Museum Lausanne / Privat collection

Grock original costume & original violin (privat collection Switzerland)
First Exhibition of Monde du Cirque Lausanne 87

Grock (January 10, 1880, Reconvilier, Switzerland - July 14, 1959, Imperia, Italy), original name Charles Adrien Wettach, was a Swiss circus and music-hall clown whose blunders with the piano and the violin became proverbial.The son of a watchmaker, he became an amateur acrobat and was allowed to spend each summer with a circus, where he performed first as a tumbler and then as a violinist, pianist, and xylophonist. He became the partner of a clown named Brick and changed his name to Grock in 1903. Together they appeared in France, North Africa, and South America. When Brick married, Grock joined the celebrated clown Antonet (Umberto Guillaume). At Berlin, appearing on a stage instead of in an arena, they failed at first; but, by mastering the stage technique, they obtained a London engagement in 1911.

Two years later Grock perfected those adventures of a simpleton among musical instruments that made many a European audience laugh -- at his wonder as to where the strings had gone when he held his fiddle the wrong side up. The talented musician, who could play 24 instruments and speak many languages, became the king of clowns in the early 1900s. Grock performed for some of Europe's royalty. He also started a successful music publishing business for his popular songs. In 1924 he left England and remained on the European continent until his farewell performance at age 74 in Hamburg, Germany, on October 30, 1954.

Grock wrote several books, among them his autobiography, Die Memoiren des Königs der Clowns (1956; Grock, King of Clowns), and Life's a Lark. His performances have been preserved on film. The highest-paid artist at one time in Europe, was broke after buying a circus tent for his variety show after World War II, but recovered financially through successful tours. He retired to the villa he had built in the 1920s in the surroundings of Imperia.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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