wTracey Emin’s hen cat Docket went missing in 2002, ‘Lost Cat’ stickers she plastered around her neighborhood in east London stolen It has a value of 500 pounds sterling. Her gallery, White Cube, has argued that they are not considered works, although some art historians have said otherwise. Whatever you believe in, they still pop up every now and then on eBay.
However, it is Emin’s selfie with Docket that I like the most. (This and a handmade cat photo book, Because I love him, Buy dream art I must make him rich in the picture. He loves him from above. It is a wonderful image of a mother, and indeed in the past Emin referred to the cat, who has now sadly left this earthly plane, as her “baby”. It comes in a long series of artistic images of women or girls with cats.
Cats are as old a subject of visual art as the art itself — there are macaroons drawn in Lascaux Cave. In ancient times, they decorated ancient Egyptian tombs and Pompeii mosaics. The ancient and ancient association of cats with fertility, and their status as mother goddesses from the ancient Egyptian Bast to the Greek Hecate, has meant that women and cats have been seen as interdependent for thousands of years. So it is not surprising that they have frequently been paired together as a theme by everyone from Morissot to Picasso, Matisse to Kirchner, and Kahlo to Freud. Appearing in advertisements by Rubens, Barocci, and Lotto, they represent femininity, intimacy, and sometimes the devil—or what psychologist Jungy Marie-Louise von Franz calls the “feminine shadow,” the dark side of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.
It is not surprising that cats appear frequently in paintings: artists tend to love them, perhaps because they are so defiant and independent. Plus, it’s easier to paint while nursing a cat than a dog: it doesn’t require walking, though it still gets in the way, as Louis Milo-Jones’ great portrait He is standing on a stand with a cat on her shoulder Offers. Leonor Finneymeanwhile, she’s kept twenty cats, so it’s no surprise that her fur sometimes ends up with paint on her canvas.
There are some great pictures of Vinnie with her pets. in 1961 photo of Martin FrankHer dark, wild hair is a whimsical contrast to the white cat’s elegant look, while in another she appears in an evening gown as she kneels to feed six cats in her kitchen. Dora Maar’s photo Perhaps the most deliberately sensationalist. Vinnie wears a sort of low-waisted corset, holding a long-haired black cat between her open legs in a visual pun that the viewer is not lost in.
As anyone who has owned one knows, cats are unfaithful and unfaithful, roaming the streets at night in ways women historically could not, and sometimes cats and courtesans combine in Japanese art. One netsuke even features two cats who embody the characters of a sex worker and a client. Mare, meanwhile, was a catwoman, and when Picasso painted his lover with a black cat on her shoulder, it can be read as a symbol of her sexual and emotional self. Their relationship was tempestuous, and Marr’s claw-like hands seem, to me at least, to hint at those of a feline.
I used these pictures as a kind of visual mood board while writing my diary, year of the cat, which is about how adopting a cat made me think differently about motherhood, but also has a strong artistic history line to run through on the subject of female artists and their cats. One of the first paintings I saw of a woman with a cat was at school by Gwen John. in girl with a cat (1918-1922), the subject is seated with a black cat in her arms. The young woman stared into the distance, her expression almost too sad. Meanwhile, the cat stares directly at the viewer with yellow eyes. John loved her cat, Tiger, and when he went missing, she slept outside in hopes of luring him home; Like Emin Docket nearly a century later, he’s finally back. The love John felt for her cat, when she was so unhappy in love with human diversity, has moved me ever since.
Two of Picasso’s earlier portraits of women and cats have a similar emotional impact. in 1900 woman with cat, the subject in his bed leans towards the kitten, which he holds in her arms, as if trying to take solace in her. Meanwhile, the year is 1901 Naked with cats, sometimes called Madwoman with Cats, Lee feels ruthless in her portrayal of her vulnerable subject. In my book, I look at the “mad cat lady” myth, which has its origins in the fear of witchcraft, and how it was used to stigmatize single women and childless women. This picture, drawn in an asylum, I felt very uncomfortable to include, but I kept it in my mind as I wrote it.
Much more than cheering Suzanne Valadon’s Cat Paintings. Another cat lover — she used to feed them caviar — Valadon painted her cat Raminou several times, as did the other cats. Although she treats them with respect because of the painting’s appropriate subject matter, there is a playfulness in the way she conveys their stony expressions. It successfully captures the silly smugness that is essentially the essence of the cat. Even better is her photograph of Women with Cats, 1919 Jeune Fille au Chat My favorite, perhaps because the girl inside seems so happy to be holding the animal, while the animal itself seems to just tolerate interaction, and reminds me of my cat’s confrontational mackerel nature.
To see Valadon herself with her cat – in this case white – we must rely on Marcel Lebrin’s drawing of her, in which she was He wears an enormous expression. She may not have claws, but like the animals she loved so much, Valadon, daughter of a washerwoman whose talent astonished Degas when she showed him her drawings, was rebellious and not to be trifled with—a far cry from the stoic dancer she played when Modeling for Renoir.
That male artists use cats as a means of arousing female nude sex will come as no surprise. in La Paresse by Felix Vallotton, a naked woman stretched out on a bed, her hand extended to pet the cat. in Photograph by Masaya NakamuraWe only see the curve of her butt and her pointed feet as a black cat stares in the direction of her genitals. I much prefer Pierre Bonnard’s more humane depiction of an angry-looking woman, seated fully at the table with a plate of food while “prompts the cat‘From her title offends her. Or even better, Lotte Laserstein’s 1928 portrait with a cat, as her direct gaze seems to challenge the viewer as the disgruntled animal she holds in her lap seems ready to pounce if necessary. It’s as if they both dare you to say something: Call Laserstein a crazy cat lady at your peril.
You could argue that cats and artists have something in common: Both groups have historically been disgraced and refused to abide by the rules that society tries to impose on them. Thin Of course, artists in particular have been marginalized, and how one might approach a creative career with motherhood is always a question, and one of the many I raise in my book. Emin, who has no children, said she would have resented leaving her studio for them if she had any. It would be presumptuous to suggest that the cat could be some kind of surrogate child, had Emin not made it clear herself.
After centuries of witch-hunts, the love of women—especially childless women—for cats is ridiculed and stigmatized to this day. That’s why I’m so excited about Tyre Brock Hammer, which asked different cat women to pose in the style of historical paintings, their styles ranging from 19th-century colonialism to surrealism. These hilarious party photos subvert the shameless cat lady stereotype. My favorite is a medieval painting of the Madonna and Child, but instead of a child, the Virgin Mary holds a tabby cat. Laugh if you like, she seems to say, but cat love is true love.