Sunday, October 22, 2017

Cats in Art: Boy With a Cat (Wood)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).




Image credit Pinterest,  Boy With a Cat, Christopher Wood, 1926, oil on canvas, 59" x 23", held by Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, UK.

And the kitty close-up:




Bugler's comments:


The Siamese cat makes an appearance in Western art only after the turn of the twentieth century, following the breed's introduction to Europe.  This elegant example is being stroked by the artist's friend Jean Bourgoint, who, with his sister Jeanne, was one of the models for the siblings in Jean Cocteau's novel Les Enfants Terrible (1929).

Seems that artist Wood was short lived, dying at age 29.  Too bad, his cat art may have been epic for the ages.

This poor kitty is obviously in distress: just look at the claws, as though there were an earthquake in progress and the lap upon which the cat was lying was rolling violently to and fro.  Or put another way, "I am so out of here.  Just have to wait for my opening."

This is an oddly proportioned image, some five feet tall by only a couple of feet wide. My default move in obtaining an image for a Cats in Art blog post is to first go to the holder of the painting.  Unfortunately, the image on the Kettle's Yard Museum website was not easily sized to fit Mister Tristan, (the blog, not the 9 year old human being), so I had to resort to the secondary source Pinterest.

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]







Monday, October 16, 2017

Housekeeping

I was just working on a post for Sunday on the Christopher Wood painting Boy With a Cat.  Appears that I hit PUBLISH immediately rather than holding it till Sunday, but the Blogger software is acting squirrelly tonight.  Very squirrelly.  Can't tell what is going on.

So....you will either see this post early--on 16 Oct--or you may see it on schedule on Sunday 22 Oct.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Cats in Art: Merchant's Wife on the Balcony (Kustodiev)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This is the second of a pair of posts on the cat art of Boris Kustodiev.




Image credit WikiArt (image 382 of 645), Merchant's Wife on the Balcony, Boris Kustodiev, 1920, no other information available.

And the kitty close-up, looking much the same as she did last week.




On the WikiArt page for Kustodiev, I scrolled through all of the 645 images preserved there, with a couple of observations.  First, he was a prolific artist.  Next, he seemed almost obsessed with "merchants," using that subject and title in many paintings.  Last, he seemed to be untouched by the Russian Revolution.  Other than a couple of military images, looks like life went on as usual...unless Kustodiev deliberately painted "normal" scenes as an antidote to political and social upheaval?

Contrast this image with the parallel image from last week. Same fruit, same table, same cat, similar background.  But the woman seems different to me, and it's not just the substitution of a red dress for black and a different angle for the view.  Her hair is distinctly different, as is her face.

And as I examine the cat, I am hard-pressed to note any real differences in the way the cat herself is rendered.

As I've done my Cats in Art posts over the past 5+ years, I am struck by how many times an artist--many artists--revisits the same subject, tweaking it, changing it subtly or massively, renaming it (or not).  It's as though the original was just not right, and the artist just needs to scratch that itch by redoing the piece, sometimes multiple times.

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]





Sunday, October 8, 2017

Cats in Art: The Merchant's Wife at Tea (Kustodiev)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This is the first of 2 posts on the cat art of Boris Kustodiev.  Next week's is very similar...only different.



Image credit WikiArt, The Merchant's Wife at Tea, Boris Kustodiev, 1918, oil on canvas, 47" x 47", held by The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg.


And the kitty close-up, of course:



Bugler's comment:

The tortoiseshell and white cat rubbing up against its plump mistress adds the final touch of cosiness to this scene of comfortable domesticity, while its markings subliminally echo the vast expanse of the woman's creamy d├ęcolletage and shoulders framed by the dark dress.

I, for one, tend to be sensitive to body comments, so I kinda immediately bristle at Bugler's use of the term "plump mistress."  The best adjective I come up with upon viewing this painting is "luscious."  The fruit is luscious, the dress is luscious, the table setting is luscious, the background is luscious: richly luxurious or appealing to the senses.

The cat, alas, is not luscious.  She (being a calico, is female) simply looks happy to be a part of this activity.

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Cats in Art: Hydrangeas (Steer)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).



Image credit The Athenaeum, Hydrangeas, Philip Wilson Steer, 1901, oil on canvas, 33" x 44", held by The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK.

And the kitty close-up:


Bugler's analysis of this painting:

In a light-filled, chintzy interior an elegantly clad woman plays with her cat, teasing it with a string of pearls.  It would be hard to imagine a more English scene, although Steer was responding to the very un-English lessons of French Impressionism....Decorum reigns supreme in this delightfully traditional picture, which conveys an untroubled vision of an Edwardian world in which there is no hint of discord.

My thoughts?  Mr. Steer rendered the cat very well--I assume he must have been a cat "owner."  He nailed that quality of a cat being totally powerless to resist dangling objects.  The woman seems happy; I totally agree with Bugler that this is a tranquil, non-troubling scene...one that we certainly need to immerse ourselves in these days, what with all the political discord roiling around us.

Sometimes it all seems just too much, and relaxing with this particular 100+ year old painting--and with cats in art in general--has vast therapeutic powers.  Never underestimate the power of a kitty.

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Cats in Art: The Briar Rose (Crane)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).



Image credit The Athenaeum, The Briar Rose (triptych, center panel), Walter Crane, tempura on panel, 23" x 17", held by Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum - Glasgow, United Kingdom.


And the kitty close-up from over on the right foreground:


You know how cats just love musical instruments!  Why, the kitty can no more ignore that mandolin (or whatever it is) then it can just stop breathing.  Kind of analogous to cardboard boxes, a book on a lap, computer keyboards, or newspapers on the floor.

But seriously, this is a disturbing image.  First off, the guy is clearly invading the sleeping beauty's space, thus even if he indeed is Prince Charming, he is a creepy, lascivious character.  Next, the animals seem completely oblivious to the intruder (while that would be OK for the cat--that's just what they do--the sleeping dog is puzzling).  And finally, what do we make of the hooded person in the back, past the bed?  Presumably she (?) is a servant, but what is she holding on her lap?  And as a minimum, her watching skills are sorely lacking!


[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Cats in Art: At Home: A Portrait (Crane)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).



Image credit The AthenaeumAt Home: A Portrait, Walter Crane, 19872, tempera on paper, 28" x 16", held by Leeds Art Gallery, UK.


And the kitty close-up:




Bugler tells us:

A tabby cat is the final domestic touch in Walter Crane's portrait of his wife, Frances, painted during their extended honeymoon in Italy.  The cat must surely be the family pet, but it has all the gravitas of Egyptian sculptures of the feline goddess Bastet; only the twitching ears indicate that this is a live creature rather than a statue.

My take is that this was a brave couple to take a cat to Italy on their honeymoon....which indicates the depth of affection the cat must have had for its humans to undertake such a journey.


[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]

Monday, September 11, 2017

Cats in Art: Woman Holding a Cat (Kuniyoshi)...plus a Wedding

Life has interfered with blogging, as so often happens.  Daughter just got married to a wonderful man, so our weekend was just a tad busy.

So....a day late, here's a Cats in Art post from 5 years ago.  I chose this one because the cat I refer to, Ca Beere, was our daughter's but now is ours (and yes, the cat still exists).

Here is the original link from 2 Sept 2012.  Dedicated to our daughter and new son-in-law.

++++++++++++++++

Woman Holding a Cat (Kuniyoshi)

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 Zazzle.  Woman Holding a Cat, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 1852, colored xylograph, 14" x 10", held by private collector.

May as well continue with a Japanese theme...last week's post was a Hiroshige image.

Zuffi really gets into it:

A perfectly dressed and made-up geisha, wrapped in the silk of an embroidered kimono, attempts to ward off the excessive affections of a magnificent white cat.  It is a pet, but also a sort of refined "domestic furnishing," as demonstrated by the knotted ribbon around its neck and its soft, carefully brushed fur, into which the woman sinks her fingers with pleasure.  There is an interesting contrast between the cat's onslaught and the much more dangerous scene depicted in the background, in which a gigantic octopus is threatening a small fishing boat.


Wow...getting kinda steamy here.  Good thing it's in a private collection, otherwise I'd have to hop a plane to check it out firsthand.

One of our cats, De Beere, is what we call a "face kitty," meaning she likes to burrow into your neck and face and lick.  It's fun for a moment but then you go into defensive mode like the geisha above depicted by Kuniyoshi.

+++++++++++++++++++

By the way, here is Ca Beere--Steeler fan--in a recent photo:






Sunday, September 3, 2017

Cats in Art: Puss in Boots (Millais)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This is the second of a pair of posts on the art of John Everett Mallais from the late 1800s.



Image credit The Athenaeum, Puss in Boots, John Everett Millais, 1877, oil on canvas, 42" x 31", held by The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum, Dundee, Scotland.

And the kitty close-up:


Oh, the indignity!!!  A cat, forced to wear boots!!!  

Tail up, the kitty is regarding the girl (its owner?), while the girl is steadily looking at the painter.  Cat toys appear on the floor, and the doll may be an object of interest as well for the cat.  However, relief from the hated boots is not coming anytime soon, it appears.

One can't help but think that this painting's colors must have deteriorated over the140 years since Millais painted it--the poor cat's upper half is virtually indistinguishable from the girl's dress or pillow, whatever is immediately behind the cat.  Surely Millais would not have painted brown-on-brown in this fashion...though perhaps what we are seeing is a reproduction failure in copying the painting to paper.

Guess a trip to Scotland is in order to actually stand in front of this painting and see what the colors really look like.  Road trip!

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Cats in Art: A Flood (Millais)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).  


Image credit The Athenaeum, A Flood, John Everett Millais, 1870, oil on canvas, 39" x 57", held by Manchester Art Gallery, UK.

And the kitty close up:



Bulger's analysis:


A terrible flood took place in Sheffield in 1864 when the dam of a reservoir burst, causing the deaths of more than 250 people and thousands of cattle.  Reports of a baby being washed out of a home in a a cradle and subsequently rescued from the waters inspired Millais to paint this scene, which is loosely based on the incident.  He shows the child, quite unperturbed, looking up at the raindrops and the birds above, while the black cat, which has sought refuge from the rising waters on the cradle, mews in terror.

I have often seen this type of scenario, where a kitty cries out for something. Usually it's not a flood, but rather a request for milk or cat food or petting.  In this case it is a plea for help.  Uncommon, but known to every cat owner:  "Please help me!  You're the responsible adult in the room!"

It turns out that this artist, John Everett Millais, was a buddy to Ford Madox Brown from last week's post, The Nosegay.  Well, Mr. Mallais captures so well the situation of a cat needing help. The body language and the mewing are so well represented that I must assume that Millais was a cat "owner."

Mr. Mallais turned out to be a decent artist in his own right.  In addition to the cat image above, he also produced the wonderful image below.  Which, unfortunately, contains absolutely NO cats.  But I found it fascinating nonetheless.

[Political content trigger] Check out this Millais painting called Apple Blossoms.  While it contains cats in the sum of ZERO, it does contain several women whose eyes seem as dead as those of Gov. Scott Walker of WI or Trump advisor Steven Miller.  First the entire painting, then the 3 dead-eye details.




Details of three of the 1800s zombies:









It feels good to venture back into politics!  Sure looks like these ladies are having a ton of fun!  Wish I were there to party with them!


One more reverie: I posted this Cats in Art post back in 2010 after having been to Hannibal, MO.  The painting in question is entitled Fur Traders Descending the Missouri.  Notice any similarities to the first painting at the top?






[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Cats in Art: The Nosegay (Brown)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).




Image credit The Athenaem, The Nosegay, Ford Madox Brown, ca 1865, watercolor on paper, 18" x 12", held by Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England.


And the kitty close up:



Bugler's discussion:


The artist shows his teenage daughter Cathy picking flowers in a garden while a tortoiseshell and white cat affectionately nuzzles her in a characteristically cat-like gesture.  The tender gesture and the bow around the cat's neck are all part of Brown's intention to produce an appealing picture that would attract "patrons who wanted something pretty."  His compositions often involve complicated symbolism, but this picture appears to be free of such content....


I love the calico, having had a couple of them in our lives over the years (most recently Tizzy, whom I hope to have immortalized here).  I agree with Bulger that this painting is exactly what it seems to be: a carefree and innocent domestic scene devoid of any sinister undertones--just a pretty young lady with pretty flowers and a pretty cat.

Bulger's other comment that struck me was this one: "His compositions often involve complicated symbolism, but this picture appears to be free of such content...."

As I researched this image and others from Brown, there were two others that really jumped out at me, and I strived mightily to find a feline in those paintings.  But alas, though I failed to find a kitty, those other paintings were so interesting I'm including them here anyway.

The Coat of Many Colors: just look at the various eyes in this painting!  Can you say the word agenda?




And Stages of Cruelty: what a bizarre image to try to unpack!


[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]



Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cats in Art: Woman with a Cat, Portrait of Madame Manet (Manet)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This is the third of at least 3 posts on the art of Edouard Manet from the late 1800s.



Image credit website Edouard Manet/The Complete Works, Woman With a Cat, Portrait of Madam Manet, Edouard Manet, 1880, oil on canvas, 36" x 29", held by the Tate Museum.



This "Madame Manet, " painted late in his life, represents Manet's wife, Suzanne Leenhoff.  I really like how the pastel woman fades into the background as the black cat forcibly occupies the foreground.

As in last week's image, this kitty is captured quite well by Manet, keying into the relaxed attitude and lap-loving that all cats and cat lovers appreciate.  Again, an image preserved for the ages.

After some difficulty I was able to track down the provenance of this painting as belonging to the Tate Museum in London...where it is NOT currently on display.  Go figure--you have a Manet and it's sitting back in the archives?  (although in fairness, there are many valid reasons that any given painting may not be on view).

Along these lines, I happened upon an Associated Press article on 30 July that deals with the ownership of priceless art.  Seems that the Berkshire Museum in Massachusetts wishes to sell off some artworks to keep the doors open.  It's a tough call, but here's my key excerpt from the story:

A Massachusetts museum's decision to part with 40 artworks, including two by illustrator Norman Rockwell, has touched off a debate over whether it's ever ethical to sell pieces of the collection to pay the bills.
The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield has come under intense national and local pressure after announcing it's auctioning the art.
Critics say it's violating a cardinal rule of museums: Don't sell stuff to pay the bills. 
"One of the most fundamental and long-standing principles of the museum field is that a collection is held in the public trust and must not be treated as a disposable financial asset," the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Art Museum Directors said in a joint statement. The sale would be an "irredeemable loss," they added.

Let's conclude our Edouard Manet review with a wonderful quote from the artist himself:

Everything is mere appearance, the pleasures of a passing hour, a midsummer night's dream. Only painting, the reflection of a reflection - but the reflection, too, of eternity - can record some of the glitter of this mirage.

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Cats in Art: Young Woman Reclining (Manet)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This is the second of at least 3 posts on the art of Edouard Manet from the late 1800s.




Image credit Edouard Manet/The Complete Works, Young Woman Reclining, Edouard Manet, 1862, oil on canvas, 47" x 54", held by the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.

And the kitty close-up:




Unlike last week's post, this woman is clothed, is presumably a "good" young woman in contrast with last week's supposed prostitute, the cat is quite visible, and the image is bright and cheery.  It's a happy scene.

The cat--which of course is my focus--comes complete with a ball of yarn (a pair, actually) and seems playful and engaging.  Manet manages to capture the cat's lively essence and freezes in oil for all time its playful movements.  

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Cats in Art: Olympia (Manet)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).


Image credit Edouard Manet complete works web site, Olympia, Edouard Manet, 1862, oil on canvas, 40" x 74", held by the Musee d'Orsay, Paris.

You just about missed that petite black cat on the foot of the bed, over on the right, didn't you?  The kitty close-up:



Bugler's comments:
Manet's prostitute brazenly confronts the viewer, her black cat echoing her bold stare.  The animal's inclusion is far from incidental, the French word for cat--chat--also being used to signify female genitalia....Manet's black cat is as insolent as its owner who offers herself for sale to the highest bidder.  Manet included cats in more than one work during this decade [Gary: "Yippee!].  

My thoughts on the painting?  First off, the cat is almost invisible, but reminds me so much of our petite black cat Ca Beere.  Also, seems to me that to simply assume that the woman is a prostitute may not be accurate--what if she is simple a lover posing for a painting?  But then, my prostitute radar is pretty poor.  I recall once being on a business trip to Las Vegas with a buddy and co-worker, sitting in the bar area of a casino, and my friend happened to comment on "that hooker over there."  I looked and all I saw was a stylishly dressed attractive single woman.  Prostitute never entered my mind, but we watched her over the next half an hour until she left with a guy in a suit.

Also, it's interesting that the black woman--like the cat--is pretty invisible, being black against a dark background.  There....but not there.  Sounds like a comment on society?

Next, this is a big painting, over 3 feet tall and over 6 feet wide.  The bride and I will be heading to France later this year and I cannot wait to stand right in front of this magnificent painting.  It'll be interesting to see how the strong contrasts of light and darkness in oil paint actually appear in person, versus what I can see in a mere 2-dimensional repro in a book.

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Corner of the Studio (Tassaert)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).



Image credit to the art repro site Oceans Bridge, The Corner of the Studio, Octave Tassaert, 1845, oil on canvas, 18" x 15", held by the Louvre, Paris.

And the kitty close-up from the center left:


Bugler tells us:

This painting illustrates perfectly the romantic cliche of a penniless artist starving in his garret...but at least he has some company--a beautiful cat, which characteristically has found the warmest position in the room, in front of the fire.

Couple of comments.  Cats and warmth: duh!

Second, we get used to instant gratification on the web, such that when it doesn't happen we are outraged.  Case in point: the Louvre's searchable database of paintings is pretty crappy in my humble opinion.  Bugler tells us that this work is held there, yet I cannot find any trace of it.  Perhaps it has been sold or traded to another museum.

Third....but, when I Google this work by title and artist, the only hits I get are for art reproduction sites.  Until I started my weekly Cats in Art posts, I had no idea that such enterprises existed.  Basically you can order a brand new, hand-painted repro of some famous artwork, in whatever size you wish (you ought to click over to the Ocean's Bridge site I provide above in the image credit).

I am not making value judgments about the propriety of buying a reproduction, just observing that my search for this work, A Corner of the Studio, was fruitless...except for numerous art reproduction sellers.  

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Cats in Art: A Hidden Feast (Paton)

Pardon this reposting, life has intervened.  This from 5 years ago.  Original link is here.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. In my first post on 1 July on the artist Frank Paton, I was using some ideas from the coffee table book, The Cat in Art, by Stefano Zuffi. In researching Paton I uncovered several other cat works, so the entire month of Sundays in July will be devoted to him.



Image credit artnet galleries, here [click to enlarge].   A Hidden Feast, Frank Paton, 1881, oil on canvas, 38" x 34", private collection.

I guess the title comes from the fact that the dogs are swiping food from a vendor`s cart while he is chatting with another man.  Cats, of course, NEVER steal food.  Never.

Besides the cat in the foreground, who hopes to cash in on the dogs' bad behavior, we see two other cats in the background with the men.  These must be the good kitties.

As for the art, Paton again demonstrates his great skill at depicting animals accurately and with warm realism.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Cats in Art: The Painter's Studio (Courbet)

[Sorry for no post past week]

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).



Image credit Gustave Courbet web site, The Artist's Studio, Gustave Courbet, 1855, oil on canvas, 141" x 232", held by Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France.

From the artist web site:

The enormous Studio is without doubt Courbet's most mysterious composition. However, he provides several clues to its interpretation: "It's the whole world coming to me to be painted", he declared, "on the right, all the shareholders, by that I mean friends, fellow workers, art lovers. On the left is the other world of everyday life, the masses, wretchedness, poverty, wealth, the exploited and the exploiters, people who make a living from death". 

And Bugler's analysis:

Although Courbet wrote about the symbolic role of all the figures played ion this vast composition, he said virtually nothing about the cat; this has encouraged scholars to come up with a variety of theories to explain its presence.

My pet theory: Courbet liked cats.

Which brings me to the kitty close-up, from front and center of the painting:



Just for kicks, let's contrast this vibrant, colorful painting from a website dedicated to the painter, with the flat, gray version that appears on the website of the actual holder, the famous Musee d'Orsay in Paris:



The bride and I are fortunate to be traveling to Paris this fall, and will be able to stand in front of this huge painting--it's a stunning 12' tall and some 19' long--and survey it.  Wow, I can't wait!

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]



Sunday, June 25, 2017

Cats in Art: Henry Clark's Mother-in-Law...(Hunt)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).



Image credit The Athenaem, Henry Clark's Mother-in-Law, Mrs. Davies and Four of Her Children in the Drawing Room of Her Home, William Holman Hunt, 1846, oil on canvas, 30" x 24", held by Geffrye Museum - London.


And the kitty close-up, including a couple of the strange-looking children:



And what is that over on the right, on the rug just in front of the fire?  A hat, a cat, a cow head, or a skunk?



This has to be one of the creepiest paintings containing a cat, ever.  Those four kids, in addition to being physically disproportioned, simply look possessed, while the mother looks, well, determined.  Or something.  About what, we do not know.  But the only normal thing in the painting is the white cat.

It may take a trip to London, to the Geffrye Museum, to actually stand in front of this painting, to figure this one out.

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]