Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cats in Art: Figure of a Cat (Galle)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. I am using some ideas from the coffee table book, The Cat in Art, by Stefano Zuffi.

In this case the medium is ceramics rather than paint.  Here are 3 images from Emile Galle (1846-1904), each fascinating in its own right.  The first is from the Zuffi book; the last two are of other Galle ceramic cats, pulled from the web.

Image credit Zuffi, pg 273.  Figure of a Cat, enameled terra-cotta with details in glass, 13" tall, held in private collection.

Image credit GoogleImages
Image credit GoogleImages
Zuffi's comment on the first image:
His [Galle's] passion for natural forms and the beauty of creation were perfectly in keeping with the aims of Art Nouveau...that found its greatest creative stimuli in the beautiful designs of nature.  It is said that the door to his studio bore the inscription "My roots are in the depths of the woods, next to springs, floating on the foaming waves."  This testifies to Galle's visceral connection to Mother Earth, of which our animal is one of the exemplary "products."
My take?  Galle's cats as pictured here all look carefree and happy.  I like to think that the original kitty models were likewise happy animals.  I also find the cats' "fur" to be fascinating, covered as they are with flowers or designs.  Seeing an original up close would likely take the top of my head clean off.

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