Cats in 20th Century History and Art (Part 4-Félix Vallotton)

Greatly influenced by Holbein, Durer and Ingres and later by Japanese print art, the Swiss painter Félix Vallotton (1865-1925) produced both woodcuts and paintings in which he sometimes included cats.  His woodcuts consist of a black background with only a few white lines to outline his images.  In a series of six woodcuts called Instruments […]

Cats in 20th Century History and Art (Part 3-Picasso)

When not participating in dangerous flights and setting new records, the cat, just as it had done in previous centuries, played an integral part in art and photography. Enduring as a cultural and social icon, the cat symbolized femininity, sensuality, domesticity, lust, and evil. An essential ingredient for cultural and social commentary, the cat was […]

Cats in 20th Century History (Part 2-Kiddo, Fifi, Whoopsy and Patsy)

As in all man’s endeavors, the cat was destined to accompany him in flight as well. Kiddo, the stray hangar cat, was the first feline to cross the Atlantic in 1910.  Taken aboard the dirigible America at Atlantic City, New Jersey, Kiddo was meant to serve as a good luck charm, to enable the flight to […]

The Cat in 20th Century History (Part 1-Background)

THE CAT IN 20TH CENTURY HISTORY By the beginning of the twentieth century, the cat had risen in popularity at a phenomenal rate.  Now even less stigmatized by the evil mantra it had carried throughout time, the cat in 20th century history would become even more ubiquitous.  Its breakthrough into the literary and art worlds, which […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 21-Cats and French Writers)

Cats and French writers seem to be inseparable, and in addition to the other French writers that have already been discussed, there were several others who found the cat to be an important companion and sometimes essential symbol in their literature and poetry. The French novelist, George Sand (1804-1876), her real name Amantine Aurore Lucile […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 20-The Life and Opinions of Tomcat Murr)

The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr is an autobiography of a cat written (1819-1821) by the German writer and composer, E.T.A. Hoffmann (1776-1822).  The story is about the very literate  and precocious Tomcat Murr who decides to write  his own autobiography.  He feels he should write it because he has lived a full […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 19-Rainer Maria Rilke)

    The poet, Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), rose to become one of the most well known Bohemian Austrian poets in the German language.  Still popular today, his poem, Black Cat portrays the cat as a mystical being engulfing insignificant man.       Black Cat A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 18-Japanese Demon Cat)

Japanese Demon Cat Demon cat stories persisted into the 19th century in Japan, and the story The Cat-Witch of Okabe was reenacted on stage.  In order to terrify the young virgins at the local temple, the witch-cat disguised herself as an old woman.  In Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s depiction of a kabuki performance of about 1835, an […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 17-Charles Baudelaire’s “Cats”)

Charles Baudelaire’s Cats The short lived French poet Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), had much in common with Edgar Allan Poe.  Both would die young, and both were interested in the macabre and supernatural.  Baudelaire and Poe suffered from depression, drug and alcohol abuse and were sensitive men who enjoyed the company of cats. Baudelaire was often […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 16 -Théophile Gautier)

The French poet and writer Théophile Gautier  (1811-1872), truly adored cats.  Many of his poems include them, and they were his beloved companions. An excerpt from the Daily Telegraph of 1895, describes his passionate affection for his felines.             “Theophile Gautier, one of the most famous and artistic French authors of the present century, had […]

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