Sunday, July 15, 2018

Cats in Art: Portrait of Two Children With a Cat and a Canary

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).

Two weeks ago I posted on Francois-Hubert Drouais where I delved into a pair of paintings that are similar but not identical.  Here's another painting attributed to Drouais that I find fascinating:




Image credit art auction site ArtnetPortrait of Two Children With a Cat and a Canary, middle 1700s, attributed to Francois-Hubert Drouais, oil on canvas, 30" x 41", holder unspecified.

And the kitty-kid-canary close-up:


Couple reactions to this painting:

--Do you think--as I do--that the human eyes and the cat eyes are remarkably similar?  Rather tall, tending toward round, and not so much oblong?  

--Cat, canary, young children....what could possibly go wrong?

--Despite the inherent danger of the situation, the mood of the painting (yes, paintings do have moods!) is quite benign and placid.  Sure, the kitty is eyeing up the canary but it seems more interested in play than in prey.

--If you click over to the Artnet site (my image credit above) you will note that there have been over 300 art auctions of the paintings of Francois-Hubert Drouais (or his emulators). Wow.  There is certainly a HUGE art auction market of which ordinary people have little knowledge.  And I am not being snide when I say I get it: rich people have to have someplace to park their money.  You buy upscale things, possessions, connotations of wealth.

[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, July 8, 2018

Cats in Art: Olympia (Manet)

Sorry about being dark last week, was on vacation and my scheduled post somehow failed to run (I'm pretty sure it was my operator error).

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).


Here's an image from Edouard Manet that I used here at Mister Tristan (the blog, not the 10 year old human being) about a year ago (you may want to click over to see my comments):



In my previous blog post I commented how the black kitty down at the foot of the bed is pretty much invisible, being black-on-black.  Also how I ran that post prior to visiting the Orsay Museum in Paris...and now I have stood in front of this magnificent painting and been awed by it.  Wow!



In browsing the (so-called) complete works of Manet, I just ran across this preliminary sketch that perhaps was used as a study prior to painting the image:





Image credit here, Olympia, Edouard Manet, no other information available.


And the kitty close-up:



Too bad Manet didn't emphasize the black cat more in the final painting.  Or maybe he did, and the years have not been kind to the painting.  Many images over the years fade, or get coated with grime and haze such that details are lost.  Or--and this is perhaps heretical--Manet screwed up his background and simply made it too dark in the final oil painting.

Here's the photo I took of the cat when I was at the Orsay.  The poor kitty deserves better, getting kinda lost in the background:




[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, June 24, 2018

Cats in Art: Little Girl Playing With a Cat (after Droiais)

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).

Here are a pair of paintings by Francois-Hubert Drouais that are almost identical....but not quite.  At least to me.  See what you think (and I apologize in advance for the slight graininess, which make it tough to see the details):



Image credit Artnet, Portrait of a Girl Holding a Cat, Francois-Hubert Drouais, auctioned 28 Jan 2005, oil on canvas, 20" x 20", in a painted circle, holder unspecified.






 Image credit Mutual Art, A Girl With a Cat, Francois-Hubert Drouais (signed)  oil on canvas, 25" x 21", with additions, auctioned on 

In flipping back and forth between the art auction sites Artnet and Mutual Art, I was going a bit buggy.  I think that at least one of these paintings has been auctioned more than once, so that kinda compounds the tracking issue.

Be that as it may, the salient point is that we are dealing with a pair of paintings.  Your eye may be better than mine, but the detail that jumps out at me is the tiny lock of hair hanging down under the girl's hat onto her forehead.  The angle of the hat is also slightly different, more than simply a slight rotation of the round painting.

Also in the first painting--I call it the "brighter" one--the cat's mouth is slightly parted and teeth are visible, making it appear slightly more sinister, perhaps?

Anyway, this is the type of thing that I find myself delving into here with my Cats in Art series.  One other interesting fact: per the Artnet site, there have been some 329 actions of pieces from Francoise-Hubert Drouais.  Wow!

[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, June 17, 2018

Cats in Art: Leopard (Oudry)

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).

The bride and I had a wonderful vacation in France this fall where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was much better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.


This is the fifth and I think final post on the cat art of Jean-Baptiste Oudry.





Image credit Wikimedia Commons, Leopard, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 1741, oil on canvas, 51" x 62", held by Staatliches Museum Schwerin (State Museum Schwerin), SchwerinGermany.

And the kitty close-up:



Oudry painted a bunch of exotic animals, and this leopard is one of the finest.  I assume that in the 1700s, zoos were being established in Europe, enabling painters like Oudry to see real critters to paint from life.

This poor leopard superficially looks fierce and threatening, but to me it's just a bluff: the cat is just plain scared, and Oudry manages to capture that emotion.

[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, June 10, 2018

Cats in Art: The Monkey and the Cat (Oudry)

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).

The bride and I just returned from a wonderful vacation in France where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was much better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.


Today is the fourth of at least 5 posts on the cat art of Jean-Baptiste Oudry.





 Image credit Wikimedia Commons, The Monkey and the Cat, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 17439, medium and size unspecified, current holder unspecified.

And the kitty close-ups:



In the photo above, isn't that the most honest cat face you have ever seen?  Practically pleading, "I'm trying hard to be a good kitty.  Really!"

Somewhere on the net I found this image and holder of the painting to be attributed to the Birmingham Museum and Gallery in the UK.  That seems not to be the case when I go to the museum web site.  So I presume that this wonderful image hangs in someone's private collection rather than in a museum for all to enjoy.

Anyway, Oudry's image is associated with the fable by the author Jean de la Fontaine:

In La Fontaine's telling, Bertrand the monkey persuades Raton the cat to pull chestnuts from the embers amongst which they are roasting, promising him a share. As the cat scoops them from the fire one by one, burning his paw in the process, the monkey gobbles them up. They are disturbed by a maid entering and the cat gets nothing for its pains. It is from this fable that the French get their idiom Tirer les marrons du feu, meaning to act as someone's dupe or, deriving from that, to benefit from the dirty work of others. It is also the source of the English idiom 'a cat's paw', defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as 'one used by another as a tool'. 

Also note that on various sites the title of this work is shown as either The Cat and the Monkey, or The Monkey and the Cat.  Sadly, the latter with its featured billing of the monkey seems to be correct.

[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, June 3, 2018

Cats in Art: Cat With a Kitten (Oudry)

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).

The bride and I just returned from a wonderful vacation in France where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was much better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.


Today is the third of at least 4 posts on the cat art of Jean-Baptiste Oudry.






Image credit The Athenaeum, Cat With a Kitten, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 1737, size and medium unspecified, held in a private collection.

And the close up of the kitties, where I only capture the faces:





Mama cat looks eager and alert while her kitten looks a bit unsettled.  From the number of cats that Oudry painted I must assume that he "owned" cats throughout his lifetime....obviously the reason he was such a great artist.

[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, May 27, 2018

Cats in Art: Two Cats (Oudry)

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).

The bride and I had a wonderful vacation in France this fall where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was much better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.


This is second of at least 3 posts on the cat art of Jean-Baptiste Oudry.  


Image credit National Gallery of CanadaTwo Cats, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 1725, oil on canvas, 29" x 36", held by the National Museum of Canada, Ottawa, Canada.

And of course the kitty head shot:



From the museum web site:

Oudry has emphasized the large, gleaming eyes of the cats standing over a dead partridge. Both the defiant pose of the cats and the artist's attention to subtle differences in their markings suggest that this is a portrait. The work is contemporaneous with his portrait of "Le Général", Louis XV's cat. Oudry devoted his career to painting animals and was the official artist of the royal hunt.

I don't think I've ever seen a cat as mad as the one on the right.  Or maybe the cat is just intent upon the dead partridge, as painted, but the kitty just seems pissed beyond belief.

Thus far I've done a little investigation but nothing seems to be turning up about the tantalizing tidbit in the museum comment concerning Oudry's painting of the cat of Louis XIV.  Stay tuned!

[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, May 20, 2018

Cats in Art: Head of a Mewing Cat (Oudry)

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).

The bride and I had a wonderful vacation in France this fall where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was much better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.


This is the first of at least two posts on the cat art of Jean-Baptiste Oudry.





Image credit PinterestHead of a Cat Mewing, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, early 1700s, black chalk, pastel with white highlights, 6" x 6", held by the Louvre Museum, Paris, France. 

And today no kitty close-up is warranted!

The analysis in the Vitoux and Foucart-Walter book Cats in the Louvre:

Bearing [sic] its little pointed teeth and with his whiskers every which way, the face of this puling cat is little short of terrifying.  It is so true to life that surely it was drawn from nature.  And yet nothing could be further from the truth.  Oudry quite simply copied it from a study showing several animals, including this cat's head [by Pieter Boel, held by "the museum at Alencon"].  

Did you notice the image credit?  I can almost hear you saying, "Pinterest, really??!!"  Again I've encountered one of the vagaries of the Internet: diligent search of the web, to include the Louvre website, uncovered no primary sources for this image.  I could only find sites like Pinterest and art reproduction sites.

Also did you notice the tiny size of the chalk sketch?  Only 6" square, yet all that marvelous kitty detail!

All I can say is that I wouldn't want to have to give flea meds--or any meds--to this particular kitty.  I value my life and limb a tad too much.

[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!]