If you click below, you’ll go to a Guardian article about female artists who painted or photographed their own beloved moggies, or about females depicted with cats:
A couple of examples:
When Tracey Emin’s cat Docket went missing in 2002, the “Lost Cat” posters she pasted around her east London neighbourhood were pilfered and valued at £500. Her gallery, White Cube, argued that they didn’t count as works, though some art historians said otherwise. Whomever you believe, they still occasionally turn up on eBay.
It is Emin’s self-portrait with Docket that I love the most, however. (That and her handmade cat photo book, Because I Love Him, a dream art purchase should I ever make it rich.) In the photograph, Docket faces the camera with that deadpan, slightly morose expression that is particular to cats, his impressive whiskers shooting out beyond the artist’s fingers, which frame his face as she nuzzles him from above. It’s a strikingly maternal image, and indeed Emin has in the past referred to the cat, who has sadly now left this earthly plane, as her “baby”. It comes in a long line of artistic depictions of women or girls with cats.
Here’s the picture as advertised on the Christie’s auction webpage:
It’s no surprise that cats appear so frequently in paintings: artists tend to love them, maybe because they are so defiant and independent. Plus, it is easier to paint while caring for a cat than a dog: they do not require walking, though they can still get in the way, as a gorgeous photograph of the painter Lois Mailou Jones standing at an easel with a kitten on her shoulder shows. Leonor Fini, meanwhile, kept two dozen cats, so it’s no surprise that their fur sometimes ended up melded with the paint on her canvases.
Here’s that picture of Jones with her kitten in a tweet:
Loïs Mailou #Jones at work at her easel in her #Paris studio Circa 1937
with a little help from #Kitten!! pic.twitter.com/6BKZlKI6L6
— Green and Stone (@greenandstone) October 29, 2016
There are some fabulous photographs of Leonor Fini with her pets. In a 1961 portrait by Martine Franck, her wild dark hair is an eccentric counterpoint to the white cat’s refined appearance, while in another image she is shown wearing an evening gown as she kneels to feed six cats in her kitchen. Dora Maar’s image is perhaps the most deliberately erotic. Fini wears a sort of low-cut corset, and a long-haired black cat is held between her open legs in a visual pun that is not lost on the viewer.
Leonor Fini in Dora Maar’s image:
That male artists should use cats as a means of eroticising the objectified female nude will come as a surprise to no one. In Félix Vallotton’s La Paresse, a naked woman is sprawled on a bed, her hand extended to stroke the cat. In a Masaya Nakamura photograph, we see only the curve of her backside and her pointed feet as a black cat gazes in the direction of her genitals. I’d far rather Pierre Bonnard’s more humane depiction of an irritated-looking woman, sitting fully dressed at the table with a plate of food while the “demanding cat” of its title harasses her. Or even better, Lotte Laserstein’s 1928 Self-Portrait with a Cat, wherein her head-on gaze appears to challenge the viewer as the disgruntled-looking animal she holds in her lap seems ready to pounce if necessary. It’s as though they are both daring you to say something: call Laserstein a crazy cat lady at your peril.
Here’s Laserstein’s painting from the Leicester Museum’s German Expressionist Collection:
Centuries after the witch-hunts, the love that women – particularly childless women – have for cats is mocked and stigmatised to this day. That is why I take such delight in the photographs of Brooke Hummer, who asked various cat women to pose in the style of historical paintings, their styles ranging from 19th-century colonial to surrealist. These funny, celebratory images subvert the shaming stereotype of the cat lady. My favourite is a pastiche of a medieval painting of the Madonna and child, but instead of a baby, the Virgin Mary holds a tabby cat. Laugh if you like, she appears to be saying, but cat love is real love.
Here is that painting, I think, taken from Hummer’s website (she’s a Chicago native):
From PetHelpful we have a lovely story of a stray cat who, during a cold winter, was invited inside and never left. Click to read:
When kindhearted @lindaeckel opened her doors to a stray cat who was living near her home during freezing temperatures, she didn’t expect to have a new furever friend. Still, that’s exactly what happened! The beautiful long-haired tabby cat made herself right at home with Linda and her pets, and the result is just precious.
The first video featuring the ex-stray went viral on TikTok for adorably obvious reasons, and we think you’ll love it, too. Miss Kitty and her new friends are inseparable!
We brought in the stray that’s been hanging around since it is -35 right now. Major loves this cat! #bestfriends #makethisgoviral #makethisgoviralplease #bestfriends #goodkitty #goodpuppy #makemygoldenviral #golden #dogsoftiktok #goldensoftiktok #goldenretrieverlife #goldenslivingtheirbestlife #goldensrule #goldenlife #goldendreams #goldenretriever #lovecatsanddogs
Making biscuits is a contract!:
“That cat made biscuits for your dog. That is a contract,” wrote commenter @marcescence. Exactly! We’d like to think that was the moment the cat knew she’d found her forever home–but her new mama still made it official recently.
“Thank you all,” Linda said. “Bella has a new home. Merry Christmas all!” Now that is the perfect holiday gift for everyone. The kitty gets a new home, and the family gets someone new to love–especially this adoring Golden Retriever!
Here’s the Golden Retriever, Major, with Bella. See more cats and d*gs on Linda Eckel’s TikTok page:
And the love continues…… Webster, Major and the kitty Bella #sweetestcatever #thesweetestever #straycatstory #catsanddogsoftiktok #goodkittykat #sweetkitty #ourcatstory #catsoftiktok #verybestfriends #goldensoftiktok🦮 #makeitgoviral #goldenretrieverpuppy #goldenpuppy #goldenretriever #goldenlove #goldensrule #golden #goldenretrieverlife #goldensoftiktok #thisisbeautiful❤❤
OwlKitty is a YouTube movie star. As her site notes:
Lizzy (stage name: OwlKitty) is a 5 year-old floof living in Portland, Oregon. She stars in all your favorite movies and tv shows and gets lots of treats and cuddles in return. Offscreen, Lizzy loves her laser pointer, her adoptive mother (a 12 year-old tabby) and the taste of cream cheese. She’s never caught a bird.
So far, OwlKitty has made appearances in such classics as Star Wars, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, How to Train your Dragon, The Shining, Titanic, 50 Shades of Gray and Risky Business. You can also find her in Game of Thrones, Ariana Grande’s music video and Red Dead Redemption 2.
There are lots of good videos on the OwlKitty YouTube site, all done with clever technology and tedious work. Here’s the famous OwlKitty “Titanic” trailer:
. . . and how it was made. The work is amazingly thorough:
Owlkitty in Jurassic Park (with tuna!):
There are many more movies, so knock yourself out!
h/t: Meijlink, Gregory
4 thoughts on “Caturday felid trifecta: Female painters and their cats; stray cat invited inside during the cold to warm up (you know what happens next); and OwlKitty in movies”
That’s just the sort of “paws on” management that any sensible supervisor applies to a new staff member (at most a few months in places as “painting cat’s staff”).
Caturday morning smile. Enjoyed it all. Always feel good when an abandoned kitty finds a loving home.
Not sure where my earlier comment disappeared to, but thanks, as always, for the Caturday trifecta! (And apologies if it eventually turns up.)
I love OwlKitty!!