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.

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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!]