Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cats in Art: Raminou Sitting on a Cloth (Valadon)

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.

This is part 5 of 7 of a multiweek study of the cat art of Suzanne Valadon. A French painter (1865-1838), she had quite the interesting life (summarized from Wikipedia):

Suzanne Valadon became a circus acrobat at the age of fifteen, but a year later, a fall from a trapeze ended that career. In Paris, she pursued her interest in art, first working as a model for artists, observing and learning their techniques, before becoming a noted painter herself. She modelled for Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (who gave her painting lessons) and Pierre-Auguste Renoir....Valadon frequented the bars and taverns of Paris along with her fellow painters, and she was Toulouse-Lautrec's subject in his oil painting The Hangover....Valadon painted still lifes, portraits, flowers, and landscapes that are noted for their strong composition and vibrant colors. She was, however, best known for her candid female nudes. A perfectionist, she worked on some of her oil paintings for up to 13 years before showing them....A free spirit, she wore a corsage of carrots, kept a goat at her studio to "eat up her bad drawings", and fed caviar (rather than fish) to her "good Catholic" cats on Fridays....Both an asteroid (6937 Valadon) and a crater on Venus are named in her honor.

Image credit Wikipaintings, Raminou Sitting on a Cloth, 1920, Suzanne Valadon, oil on canvas, held in private collection.
So, as we did last week, we see the kitty Raminou, who must have figured prominently in Suzanne Valadon's life, since he appears by name in the title of at least three of her paintings.
Raminou--which, by the way, seems to have no English translation--looks eager and interested in human interaction in this painting.  Or maybe he's just ever-so-pleased to be sitting on that ever-so-fine piece of cloth. 
There's a kind of game the bride and I play with our cats: you place something new on the floor or on the bed, anything new, and the cats are powerless to resist sitting or laying on it.  They just can't help themselves, and while of course they know their catness is being exploited and manipulated, they just don't care.
I bet to get Raminou to pose, Suzanne Valadon made a big deal out of placing this cloth on the chair or table (I can't quite make out which).  Whereupon Raminou promptly hopped right up there and looked insufferably pleased with himself.

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