Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cats in Art: Three Animals (Dog, Fox and Cat) (Marc)

[Late update 1030 Sunday: I just took another look at this image.  Now I see a horse head, eye closed, facing right and parallel with the dog's head, with the horse's nose almost touching the nose of the dog.  The head of the horse is integrated into the cat like 2 pieces of a puzzle, with the horse's mane being the chest/shoulder stripes of the cat's fur.]
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 my tenth post on Franz Marc (1880-1916), a key German painter whose life tragically ended early on the Western Front in 1916. Maybe he even knew my great-grandfather. This will be a multi-week series (I am still uncovering his cat works).

Image credit The Atheneum, here. Three Animals (Dog, Fox and Cat), Franz Marc, 1912, oil on canvas, 31" x 41", held by Kunsthalle Mannheim (Germany).
OK, this painting takes a bit of staring at to get it to register.  The pale gray dog in the center is obvious, as is the red fox in upper right.  But what's that under the dog's belly?  Or what looks to be a single eye (in a feline head?) to the right of the dog's face?
When I initially tried to find the kitty I just could not see it at all--then it practically leaped from the painting, over on the right edge.  Maybe you saw it immediately, but I had a temporary visual or mental block.
While the dog and fox are bold and obvious, almost forceful in their strong lines and strong colors, the kitty is an interesting counterpoint: muted, demure, and melting into the shadows. 
But seemingly unconcerned about the close presence of the canid brutes.

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