Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cats in art: Girl With a Cat (Franzi) (Kirchner)

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 post 3 of 3 examining the cat works of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner from the early 1900s.

As a side note, due a mental processing failure, I simply cannot bring myself to use the convention of saying "early 20th century.''  It bears some relation to dyslexia, I believe, rendering it too hard for me to process and think through to get the number right.  When somebody says "1900s" I know immediately the time period they are talking about.  When somebody says "20th century" it's a 2-stage process to figure out they mean the 1900s.

Besides, "__th century" sounds pretentious to me.

Image credit WikiPaintings, hereGirl With a Cat (Franzi), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1910, oil on canvas, 89 x 116 cm.
As in many of Kirchner's paintings, we see nudes and glaring primary colors.  In this image, the question becomes whether the purple cat is going to engage the girl in play.  And whether the play would be wholesome and playful, or instead would deal with fighting.  The girl seems preoccupied with her thoughts while the cat is gathering steam behind her, for what purpose?
And the the girl's name Franzi...or is the cat's name?
Here are some thoughts from Kirchner himself on the notion of art (as found in The Art Story, here):

"A painter paints the appearance of things, not their objective correctness, in fact he creates new appearances of things."
"My paintings are allegories not portraits."
"It seems as though the goal of my work has always been to dissolve myself completely into the sensations of the surroundings in order to then integrate this into a coherent painterly form."
"All art needs this visible world and will always need it. Quite simply because, being accessible to all, it is the key to all other worlds."

The comment I like best?   "My paintings are allegories not portraits."


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