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.

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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.

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