Sunday, November 11, 2018

Armistice Day...Every Family Has a Story

[Gary Note: Blogging, of late, has been taking a back seat to life...which is as it should be.  But today you're getting a pair of posts!]

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Armistice Day...Every Family Has a Story

I am reposting the same post I have put up for the past several years on 11 Nov, commemorating the end of World War I.

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For Veteran's Armistice Day (as it was originally called)....

Every family has a story. My mother told me of my great-grandfather, Julius (or Jules?) Brinkmann, who was killed on this date in 1918 in World War I on the Western Front.

Word of the armistice, which took effect the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918, did not reach all the lines in real time. He was killed sometime later that day, AFTER the armistice.

He would have been one of the very last casualties of the Great War. You know, the war that was supposed to end all wars.

Oh, and he was a German. Funny, that really doesn't seem to matter, does it?

What is your family story? Please comment.

This is a generic photo, not of Julius--because my Mom's family lost ALL their possessions, including family photos, when they were bombed out in Frankfurt in WW II--but it could have been.



Photo credit here.

Cats in Art: Four Studies of Kittens (Desportes)

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 Community ArtAuthority, Four Studies of Kittens, Alexandre-Francois Desportes, ca 1710, oil on light brown paper, 10" x 20", held in a private collection.

Bulger's comment:
The artist has depicted yowling kittens so convincingly that one can almost hear their cries.  Desportes was the foremost animal painter in France in the early years of the 18th century...his considerable success was founded on accurate observation and the ability to convey a sense of each animal as an individual.
What's not to like about kittens, except that these guys all seem to be in some greater or lesser extent of agitation?  The only one of the crew that seems somewhat calmer than the other felines is the one at the top center, and even that kitty seems a tad on edge as it seems to mew rather than holler.

Bulger believes that this oil sketch was later finalized as this painting.  I featured that painting here at Cats in Art a couple of years ago.


Image credit Community ArtAuthority, A Dog and a Cat Fighting in a Kitchen Interior.

[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, November 4, 2018

Cats in Art: Gray Cat on a Cushion (Kirchner)

Sorry for being dark, changes coming. Here is a Cats in Art post that I ran 5 years ago in Nov 2013.  Here's the original link.

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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 2 of 3 examining the cat works of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and, like last week, is a post-World War I work.



Image credit Art is Not for Sissies, here.  Gray Cat on a Cushion, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1919-20, oil on canvas, 31" x 27", held by Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund, Germany.

Zuffi comments:  

A comparison between Kirchner's works before and after the First World War highlights with dramatic effect the state of mind of a German intellectual.  The cat is tense, the forward-pointing whiskers a clear sign of nervousness; and its tail looks as it is about to beat against the cushion.  The animal's glaring eyes and the violent colors in the background, where the fabric seems to evoke explosive flashes of light, add to this painting's sense of tension.

In this image Zuffi descriptively nails it--the kitty is agitated, restless, ready to detonate.  One would try to pet this cat at one's own risk (I know this, for we have a similarly twitchy cat who can go from a hiss to a purr--and back--in less than 10 seconds).

I do love the background as well.  The colors are quite at odds with the central image of the cat, but contribute to the overall discordance of the scene.

In looking at the series of chronological works of Kirchner, I could see the light openness of his earlier works being supplanted by his somewhat darker post-war art.  He was quite changed by his experiences as a soldier in the war...and who could not be?

Here is a telling quote from Kirchner himself on the war (as found in The Art Story, here):

"The heaviest burden of all is the pressure of the war and the increasing superficiality. It gives me incessantly the impression of a bloody carnival. I feel as though the outcome is in the air and everything is topsy-turvy. All the same, I keep on trying to get some order in my thoughts and to create a picture of the age out of confusion, which is after all my function." 
Through all the madness, Kirchner still knew what he had to do as an artist:

 "...I keep on trying to get some order in my thoughts and to create a picture of the age out of confusion, which is after all my function."



Saturday, October 6, 2018

Cats in Art: La Duchesse Abrantes et le General Junot (Gerard)

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 last of several posts on the cat art of Marguerite Gerard.


Image credit The AthenaeumLa Duchesse Abrantes et le General Junot, Marguerite Gerard, no other information available.

The kitty close-up reveals (poorly) a cat crouched down at the front left corner:


After the almost in-your-face cats in my recent posts on Gerard, this nondescript gray cat, whose form is scarcely recognizable as a feline, huddles unobtrusively in an otherwise bright, cheery painting.

Why Gerard painted this gray kitty this way, adding it to this social image, will remain forever a mystery.  I'm thinking the most simple explanation: this cat belonged to the Duchesse, who requested it be painted for posterity.  Thus an unidentified little gray cat from a couple of centuries ago achieves immortality of sorts.

[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 30, 2018

Cats in Art: Cat's Triumph (Gerard)

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 fourth of several posts on the cat art of Marguerite Gerard.







Image credit The Athenaeum, Cat's Triumph, Marguerite Gerard, 1785, held by the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Russian Federation - Moscow, no other information available.


And the kitty close-up:

I guess the work's title--Cat's Triumph--derives from the fact that the primary human is holding the cat, not the dog.

Paintbrush drop, walk off out of the studio.

[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 23, 2018

Cats in Art: The Beloved Child (Gerard)

Sorry for no post last week.  Life, etc.
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 several posts on the cat art of Marguerite Gerard.




Image credit The Athenaeum, The Beloved Child, Marguerite Gerard, oil on canvas, 17" x 22", held by Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. 

And the kitty close-up:


Yeah that's just what a cat would like: riding in a sled, getting pulled/pushed by a couple of women, while being held by a toddler, with a big dog a mere couple of feet away. 

What could possibly go wrong?

Ms. Gerard must have rolled in different cat circles than I do.

[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 9, 2018

Cats in Art: Motherhood (Gerard)

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 several posts on the cat art of Marguerite Gerard.




Image credit The Athenaeum, Motherhood, Marguerite Gerard, 1805, medium and size unspecified, held by The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts  (Russian Federation - Moscow).

And the kitty close-up:




To me it appears that there are a pair of kitties here: the obvious white one, plus a dark cat closer to the painter.  The white cat seems at first fascinated with the mom and the toddler, although upon looking more, the eyes seem more directed towards the other cat or the artist rather than the mother/child combo.   

So....we have a cat (or a pair of kitties) not all that interested in Motherhood.  Figures.

FYI, there's another Gerard painting called Motherhood, sans chat.  And one also called Motherhood, avec chat, that I only can seem to located on 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!]


Sunday, September 2, 2018

Cats in Art: Lady With a Cat (Gerard)

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).

Last week's post concluded my study of Jean-Honore Fragonard, and with this post we're transitioning to the art of one of his students and sister-in-law.  This will be the first of several posts on the cat art of Marguerite Gerard.


I previously did a Gerard series back in the spring of 2017, but these are additional images  that complement those previously featured.




Image credit The Athenaeum, Lady With a Cat, Marguerite Gerard. Circa 1804, oil on canvas, 13" x 10", holder unspecified.


And the kitty close-up:


The large white cat with the orange marking looks, shall we say, a tad annoyed.  Not annoyed enough to bite or scratch--yet--but sufficiently peeved to glare at the artist as though to say: "What are you looking at?"

The woman seems composed and almost aloof, as though the cat's mood is nothing particularly noteworthy or alarming ("Oh, the cat's acting pissy again").

And the fact remains that the cat is right there on what looks to be the arm of a chair.  He/she could be anywhere but close to sit there, so the glare is really just a ploy.  The cat is actually devoted to human contact.

At least that's been my experience over some decades of cat interaction.

[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 26, 2018

Cats in Art: The Swaddled Cat (Gerard and Fragonard)

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).

As you will see below, after some 5 weeks of Jean-Honore Fragonard art, this post is a bridge collaboration between Fragonard and his young sister-in-law, Marguerite Gerard.


Then I'll focus upon Marguerite Gerard in her own right over the ensuing several weeks.



Image credit Museum de GrasseMarguerite Gerard, The Swaddled Cat, 1778, brown wash and black chalk, 17" x 14", held by Museum de Grasse, Grasse, Provence, France.

And the super cute kitty close-up:



Bugler tells us:

A little girl plays dolly with a young cat who seems to be joining in with relish; with eyes half-closed he does not look in the least unhappy to be bound up and laid on his back.
One can easily understand why, in 1778, for her first foray into engraving,  the sixteen year old Marguerite Gerard--with assistance from Fragonard himself, her brother-in-law and teacher--chose to reproduce this composition that she surely must have found amusing.  Gerard too must have been a cat lover, as some fine specimens are to be found in her own paintings.


Around 1775, Marguerite Gérard, who was barely able to ready and write, moved into the house of her sister, Marie-Anne Gérard, who had been married to Jean-Honoré Fragonard for six years. She became Fragonard's pupil and learned to paint, draw and engrave. Fragonard undoubtedly corrected the drawings of his young pupil and introduced her to etching, which enabled her to proudly sign this first print in 1778: The Swaddled Cat.  In 1780, she began to collaborate with the master, as shown by the engravings which include the statement "painted by Fragonard and Miss Gérard", and the signing of several prints.

My thoughts? Gerard--as a 16 year old--absolutely nailed the placid kitty's face.  Also, as an aside, when I googled The Swaddled Cat Gerard, I found the museum hit....but then pages of sites that tell you how to wrap up a scared kitty to keep it calm.


[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 19, 2018

Cats in Art: The First Steps (Fragonard)

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 will be the last of 5 posts on the cat art of Jean-Honore Fragonard.




Image credit The Athenaeum, The First Steps, Jean-Honore Fragonard, ca 1780, 18" x 22", oil on canvas, held by Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Greater Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


And the kitty close-up:




Not much of a view of the kitty's rear end, though we can tell that this feline is a calico cat.  And that's about it.  But it's really cool that Fragonard, a cat lover from centuries ago, apparently loved cats, and children/grandchildren.

So much so that in this 4-generation painting he included a kitty in this depiction of a major life milestone that happens in practically every household on the planet where there are children.

And so this anonymous calico has achieved immortality.

And at last, late in his life, it appears that Fragonard finally learned how to paint a cat (see previous 4 posts!).

[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 12, 2018

Cats in Art: The Angora Cat (Fragonard)

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 will be the fourth of 5 posts on the cat art of Jean-Honore Fragonard.




Image credit The Athenaeum, The Angora Cat, Jean-Honore Fragonard, ca 1783, oil on canvas, 25" x 21", held by Wallraf-Richartz-Museum Fondation Corboud  (Germany - Cologne).


And the kitty close-up:


And the even closer close-up:


  
First off, this may well be another version of Fragonard's peculiar white kitty from the past several weeks, though the telltale cat face is turned away.  And try as I might, upon initial inspection I cannot tell whether the cat is playing with a dead animal, a toy, or a mirror.  Equally puzzling, that light rectangular patch looks much like a radio, very non-1780s.

Ah, the limitations of the 2-dimensional printed page.  If only someone could describe the painting from real life....

Fortunately, we have such a description, from Wallraf Museum web site:

On the eve of the French Revolution, the fashionable world was getting used to the idea that courtly ceremonial would be giving way to a more modest, bourgeois lifestyle. In art, this found its expression in a new predilection for genre scenes, simple costumes and hair worn loose. It was no longer the classicism of Rome, but undramatic art in the style of the Netherlands that was in demand. This painting reflects the new spirit. It shows a young, fashionably dressed woman in Dutch-looking surroundings. The carpet on the table, the painting in the background and the elderly servant are typical of works that we would normally assign to the seventeenth century. But the grace of the leading lady quickly puts the picture in its place: at the heart of the Rococo era. 

In the centre of the painting is a curious scene: evidently a black cloth has just been taken off the silver globe. An Angora cat has discovered her reflection and may have decided it is a rival. The globe also reflects what is going on behind us, so to speak: a woman is sitting at an easel in a small room with two other people.

Sometimes closer is not better.  Go back to the original painting at the top.  There in between the cat and the woman is the large reflective ball, about twice the size of the cat.  It touches both of them, the cat on the left and the woman on the right.  You can now easily perceive the reflected cat and the reflected woman.  The black cloth is lying on the table.  So far so good.  


But what my old eyes still can't quite make out in the reflection is the woman at an easel, and the pair of other people.  And the center of the ball still seems to reflect a window or something that is off-painting. But keeping mind that I'm looking at a reproduction that's only a couple of inches in size while the original painting is about 2 feet square.  

See, I'm not there in the actual room of the actual museum with the actual painting....so I guess this could be yet another excuse for an art road trip?  I could call it the Cats in Art Tour and sell exclusive spaces.  I'm pretty sure I'll become very wealthy. 

Anyone interested (this is a serious question)?


[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 5, 2018

Cats in Art: Girl Holding a Dog and Cat (Fragonard)

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 will be the third of 5 posts on the cat art of Jean-Honore Fragonard.





Image credit The Athenaeum, Girl Holding a Dog and Cat, Jean-Honore Fragonard, ca 1775, 27" x 27", oil on canvas, holder unspecified.

For the third post in a row we see the toy-like kitty with the round face and soft-looking ears.  And despite being held with a dog, literally, the cat seems fairly OK with things.  The batting paw seems equally for balance as for combat with the canine.

The girl appears to be scientifically engrossed, as though she is conducting an animal behavior experiment.  Not surprisingly, the kitty seems to have the upper hand paw.  


[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 29, 2018

Cats in Art: The Education of the Virgin (Fragonard)

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 will be the second of 5 posts on the cat art of Jean Honore Fragonard.




Image credit The Athenaeum, The Education of the Virgin, Jean-Honore Fragonard, 1773,  33" x 45", oil on canvas, held by Fine Arts Museum-Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA, USA.

And the close-up of that fine kitty over there on the right:




I've been to this museum, but frankly, I don't recall anything about it.  It was awhile ago, long before Cats in Art.  But I surely regret not being able to describe this piece from my own personal recollection.

First, what bothers me about this painting.  The Virgin herself (I presume it's Mary) looks kinda doll-like and puny in comparison to her oversized teacher.  The proportions seem a bit off.  Then there's the cat....

To Fragonard's everlasting credit, he felt compelled to include a cat in the theme of "The Education of the Virgin."  Good on him, knowledge of felines is surely next to godliness.  But his kitty rendering, like last week's, makes the poor cat look doll-like (akin to Mary?) and unrealistic.  Perhaps it's the same kitty model?

One final point, at least the cat is showing an interest in the painter.  Although Fragonard's image to me seems off, he does capture well the spirit of curiosity that is the essence of catness.

[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 22, 2018

Cats in Art: The Music Lesson (Fragonard)

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 will be the first of 5 posts on the cat art of Jean Honore Fragonard.



Image credit Louvre Museum, The Music Lesson, Jean Honore Fragonard, 1770, oil on canvas, 43" x 48", held by the Louvre Museum, Paris, France.

And the kitty close-up:



Frederix Vitoux and Elisabeth Foucart-Walter, in their book Cats in the Louvre, provide this analysis:

Fragonard liked featuring animals in his compositions....The cat in this Music Lesson, comfortably ensconced on a chair next to a pandora, is not, however, the most successful feline on Fargonard's oeuvre, at least from a morphological point of view.  Still, such loose treatment gives him an amusing look and the eye is fatefully attracted to him.

My take is just as discussed above: this is a sorry-looking cat...but cute.  The cat is where one's eye is first drawn, and only after you scope out the kitty do you notice the other pair of characters...whose minds are seemingly not on their music.

[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 15, 2018

Cats in Art: Portrait of Two Children With a Cat and a Canary

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).

Two weeks ago I posted on Francois-Hubert Drouais where I delved into a pair of paintings that are similar but not identical.  Here's another painting attributed to Drouais that I find fascinating:




Image credit art auction site ArtnetPortrait of Two Children With a Cat and a Canary, middle 1700s, attributed to Francois-Hubert Drouais, oil on canvas, 30" x 41", holder unspecified.

And the kitty-kid-canary close-up:


Couple reactions to this painting:

--Do you think--as I do--that the human eyes and the cat eyes are remarkably similar?  Rather tall, tending toward round, and not so much oblong?  

--Cat, canary, young children....what could possibly go wrong?

--Despite the inherent danger of the situation, the mood of the painting (yes, paintings do have moods!) is quite benign and placid.  Sure, the kitty is eyeing up the canary but it seems more interested in play than in prey.

--If you click over to the Artnet site (my image credit above) you will note that there have been over 300 art auctions of the paintings of Francois-Hubert Drouais (or his emulators). Wow.  There is certainly a HUGE art auction market of which ordinary people have little knowledge.  And I am not being snide when I say I get it: rich people have to have someplace to park their money.  You buy upscale things, possessions, connotations of wealth.

[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 8, 2018

Cats in Art: Olympia (Manet)

Sorry about being dark last week, was on vacation and my scheduled post somehow failed to run (I'm pretty sure it was my operator error).

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).


Here's an image from Edouard Manet that I used here at Mister Tristan (the blog, not the 10 year old human being) about a year ago (you may want to click over to see my comments):



In my previous blog post I commented how the black kitty down at the foot of the bed is pretty much invisible, being black-on-black.  Also how I ran that post prior to visiting the Orsay Museum in Paris...and now I have stood in front of this magnificent painting and been awed by it.  Wow!



In browsing the (so-called) complete works of Manet, I just ran across this preliminary sketch that perhaps was used as a study prior to painting the image:





Image credit here, Olympia, Edouard Manet, no other information available.


And the kitty close-up:



Too bad Manet didn't emphasize the black cat more in the final painting.  Or maybe he did, and the years have not been kind to the painting.  Many images over the years fade, or get coated with grime and haze such that details are lost.  Or--and this is perhaps heretical--Manet screwed up his background and simply made it too dark in the final oil painting.

Here's the photo I took of the cat when I was at the Orsay.  The poor kitty deserves better, getting kinda lost in the background:




[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 24, 2018

Cats in Art: Little Girl Playing With a Cat (after Droiais)

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).

Here are a pair of paintings by Francois-Hubert Drouais that are almost identical....but not quite.  At least to me.  See what you think (and I apologize in advance for the slight graininess, which make it tough to see the details):



Image credit Artnet, Portrait of a Girl Holding a Cat, Francois-Hubert Drouais, auctioned 28 Jan 2005, oil on canvas, 20" x 20", in a painted circle, holder unspecified.






 Image credit Mutual Art, A Girl With a Cat, Francois-Hubert Drouais (signed)  oil on canvas, 25" x 21", with additions, auctioned on 

In flipping back and forth between the art auction sites Artnet and Mutual Art, I was going a bit buggy.  I think that at least one of these paintings has been auctioned more than once, so that kinda compounds the tracking issue.

Be that as it may, the salient point is that we are dealing with a pair of paintings.  Your eye may be better than mine, but the detail that jumps out at me is the tiny lock of hair hanging down under the girl's hat onto her forehead.  The angle of the hat is also slightly different, more than simply a slight rotation of the round painting.

Also in the first painting--I call it the "brighter" one--the cat's mouth is slightly parted and teeth are visible, making it appear slightly more sinister, perhaps?

Anyway, this is the type of thing that I find myself delving into here with my Cats in Art series.  One other interesting fact: per the Artnet site, there have been some 329 actions of pieces from Francoise-Hubert Drouais.  Wow!

[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!]