Saturday, October 6, 2018

Cats in Art: La Duchesse Abrantes et le General Junot (Gerard)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This is the last of several posts on the cat art of Marguerite Gerard.


Image credit The AthenaeumLa Duchesse Abrantes et le General Junot, Marguerite Gerard, no other information available.

The kitty close-up reveals (poorly) a cat crouched down at the front left corner:


After the almost in-your-face cats in my recent posts on Gerard, this nondescript gray cat, whose form is scarcely recognizable as a feline, huddles unobtrusively in an otherwise bright, cheery painting.

Why Gerard painted this gray kitty this way, adding it to this social image, will remain forever a mystery.  I'm thinking the most simple explanation: this cat belonged to the Duchesse, who requested it be painted for posterity.  Thus an unidentified little gray cat from a couple of centuries ago achieves immortality of sorts.

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]


Sunday, September 30, 2018

Cats in Art: Cat's Triumph (Gerard)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This is the fourth of several posts on the cat art of Marguerite Gerard.







Image credit The Athenaeum, Cat's Triumph, Marguerite Gerard, 1785, held by the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Russian Federation - Moscow, no other information available.


And the kitty close-up:

I guess the work's title--Cat's Triumph--derives from the fact that the primary human is holding the cat, not the dog.

Paintbrush drop, walk off out of the studio.

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Cats in Art: The Beloved Child (Gerard)

Sorry for no post last week.  Life, etc.
From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This is the third of several posts on the cat art of Marguerite Gerard.




Image credit The Athenaeum, The Beloved Child, Marguerite Gerard, oil on canvas, 17" x 22", held by Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. 

And the kitty close-up:


Yeah that's just what a cat would like: riding in a sled, getting pulled/pushed by a couple of women, while being held by a toddler, with a big dog a mere couple of feet away. 

What could possibly go wrong?

Ms. Gerard must have rolled in different cat circles than I do.

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Cats in Art: Motherhood (Gerard)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This is the second of several posts on the cat art of Marguerite Gerard.




Image credit The Athenaeum, Motherhood, Marguerite Gerard, 1805, medium and size unspecified, held by The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts  (Russian Federation - Moscow).

And the kitty close-up:




To me it appears that there are a pair of kitties here: the obvious white one, plus a dark cat closer to the painter.  The white cat seems at first fascinated with the mom and the toddler, although upon looking more, the eyes seem more directed towards the other cat or the artist rather than the mother/child combo.   

So....we have a cat (or a pair of kitties) not all that interested in Motherhood.  Figures.

FYI, there's another Gerard painting called Motherhood, sans chat.  And one also called Motherhood, avec chat, that I only can seem to located on Pinterest.

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]


Sunday, September 2, 2018

Cats in Art: Lady With a Cat (Gerard)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

Last week's post concluded my study of Jean-Honore Fragonard, and with this post we're transitioning to the art of one of his students and sister-in-law.  This will be the first of several posts on the cat art of Marguerite Gerard.


I previously did a Gerard series back in the spring of 2017, but these are additional images  that complement those previously featured.




Image credit The Athenaeum, Lady With a Cat, Marguerite Gerard. Circa 1804, oil on canvas, 13" x 10", holder unspecified.


And the kitty close-up:


The large white cat with the orange marking looks, shall we say, a tad annoyed.  Not annoyed enough to bite or scratch--yet--but sufficiently peeved to glare at the artist as though to say: "What are you looking at?"

The woman seems composed and almost aloof, as though the cat's mood is nothing particularly noteworthy or alarming ("Oh, the cat's acting pissy again").

And the fact remains that the cat is right there on what looks to be the arm of a chair.  He/she could be anywhere but close to sit there, so the glare is really just a ploy.  The cat is actually devoted to human contact.

At least that's been my experience over some decades of cat interaction.

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Cats in Art: The Swaddled Cat (Gerard and Fragonard)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

As you will see below, after some 5 weeks of Jean-Honore Fragonard art, this post is a bridge collaboration between Fragonard and his young sister-in-law, Marguerite Gerard.


Then I'll focus upon Marguerite Gerard in her own right over the ensuing several weeks.



Image credit Museum de GrasseMarguerite Gerard, The Swaddled Cat, 1778, brown wash and black chalk, 17" x 14", held by Museum de Grasse, Grasse, Provence, France.

And the super cute kitty close-up:



Bugler tells us:

A little girl plays dolly with a young cat who seems to be joining in with relish; with eyes half-closed he does not look in the least unhappy to be bound up and laid on his back.
One can easily understand why, in 1778, for her first foray into engraving,  the sixteen year old Marguerite Gerard--with assistance from Fragonard himself, her brother-in-law and teacher--chose to reproduce this composition that she surely must have found amusing.  Gerard too must have been a cat lover, as some fine specimens are to be found in her own paintings.


Around 1775, Marguerite Gérard, who was barely able to ready and write, moved into the house of her sister, Marie-Anne Gérard, who had been married to Jean-Honoré Fragonard for six years. She became Fragonard's pupil and learned to paint, draw and engrave. Fragonard undoubtedly corrected the drawings of his young pupil and introduced her to etching, which enabled her to proudly sign this first print in 1778: The Swaddled Cat.  In 1780, she began to collaborate with the master, as shown by the engravings which include the statement "painted by Fragonard and Miss Gérard", and the signing of several prints.

My thoughts? Gerard--as a 16 year old--absolutely nailed the placid kitty's face.  Also, as an aside, when I googled The Swaddled Cat Gerard, I found the museum hit....but then pages of sites that tell you how to wrap up a scared kitty to keep it calm.


[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]


Sunday, August 19, 2018

Cats in Art: The First Steps (Fragonard)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This will be the last of 5 posts on the cat art of Jean-Honore Fragonard.




Image credit The Athenaeum, The First Steps, Jean-Honore Fragonard, ca 1780, 18" x 22", oil on canvas, held by Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Greater Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


And the kitty close-up:




Not much of a view of the kitty's rear end, though we can tell that this feline is a calico cat.  And that's about it.  But it's really cool that Fragonard, a cat lover from centuries ago, apparently loved cats, and children/grandchildren.

So much so that in this 4-generation painting he included a kitty in this depiction of a major life milestone that happens in practically every household on the planet where there are children.

And so this anonymous calico has achieved immortality.

And at last, late in his life, it appears that Fragonard finally learned how to paint a cat (see previous 4 posts!).

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Cats in Art: The Angora Cat (Fragonard)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This will be the fourth of 5 posts on the cat art of Jean-Honore Fragonard.




Image credit The Athenaeum, The Angora Cat, Jean-Honore Fragonard, ca 1783, oil on canvas, 25" x 21", held by Wallraf-Richartz-Museum Fondation Corboud  (Germany - Cologne).


And the kitty close-up:


And the even closer close-up:


  
First off, this may well be another version of Fragonard's peculiar white kitty from the past several weeks, though the telltale cat face is turned away.  And try as I might, upon initial inspection I cannot tell whether the cat is playing with a dead animal, a toy, or a mirror.  Equally puzzling, that light rectangular patch looks much like a radio, very non-1780s.

Ah, the limitations of the 2-dimensional printed page.  If only someone could describe the painting from real life....

Fortunately, we have such a description, from Wallraf Museum web site:

On the eve of the French Revolution, the fashionable world was getting used to the idea that courtly ceremonial would be giving way to a more modest, bourgeois lifestyle. In art, this found its expression in a new predilection for genre scenes, simple costumes and hair worn loose. It was no longer the classicism of Rome, but undramatic art in the style of the Netherlands that was in demand. This painting reflects the new spirit. It shows a young, fashionably dressed woman in Dutch-looking surroundings. The carpet on the table, the painting in the background and the elderly servant are typical of works that we would normally assign to the seventeenth century. But the grace of the leading lady quickly puts the picture in its place: at the heart of the Rococo era. 

In the centre of the painting is a curious scene: evidently a black cloth has just been taken off the silver globe. An Angora cat has discovered her reflection and may have decided it is a rival. The globe also reflects what is going on behind us, so to speak: a woman is sitting at an easel in a small room with two other people.

Sometimes closer is not better.  Go back to the original painting at the top.  There in between the cat and the woman is the large reflective ball, about twice the size of the cat.  It touches both of them, the cat on the left and the woman on the right.  You can now easily perceive the reflected cat and the reflected woman.  The black cloth is lying on the table.  So far so good.  


But what my old eyes still can't quite make out in the reflection is the woman at an easel, and the pair of other people.  And the center of the ball still seems to reflect a window or something that is off-painting. But keeping mind that I'm looking at a reproduction that's only a couple of inches in size while the original painting is about 2 feet square.  

See, I'm not there in the actual room of the actual museum with the actual painting....so I guess this could be yet another excuse for an art road trip?  I could call it the Cats in Art Tour and sell exclusive spaces.  I'm pretty sure I'll become very wealthy. 

Anyone interested (this is a serious question)?


[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]