Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cats in Art: The Cat (Dufy)

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

Image credit The Fire LizardThe Cat, Raoul Dufy, 1909, a xylograph print made from a woodcut, published in Guillaume Apollinaire's book Le Bestiairy.
Zuffi tells us that at the beginning of the 1900s, the cat rose in popularity:
It was more a case of the domestic pussycat developing new aspects of its character, reasserting its multifaceted aspects, giving its name to famously shady or fashionable nightspots in Paris (Le Chat Noir) and Barcelona (Els Quatre Gats), and appearing more frequently in poems and paintings as well as leading artistic and intellectual trends.  A true modern, feline renaissance was underway, which at times had the aura of an exclusive or private club; cat lovers felt "different" and privileged compared to dog lovers.
Amen, Brother Zuffi!  I love how the cat is under the lampshade, as though no one can see its hiding place.
In the book for which Dufy provided this image, we find this poem to accompany the illustration.  Apollinaire's poem gets it exactly right:
     The Cat
     In my house I would like:
     A woman in command of her senses,
     A cat gliding among my books,
     And always friends
     Without whom I cannot live

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