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!]