Lilla Cabot Perry (1848-1933, American)

Self-Portrait, Lilla Cabot Perry, 1913, The Green Hat

Self-Portrait, Lilla Cabot Perry, 1913, The Green Hat

Lilla Cabot Perry (1848-1933, American) was an American Impressionist who primarily painted portraits of women after the style of Claude Monet. She promoted Impressionism in the U.S. and helped both Mary Cassatt and Camille Pissarro, both of whom had become her friends while she resided in Paris.

Born in Boston into a prominent well-to-do family, Perry’s family friends included Louisa May Alcott and Ralph Waldo Emerson. After the Civil War, Perry travelled to Europe with her parents and began to study painting. After her father’s death, she was able to pursue her art using her inheritance to fund it. By 1894, her works had gained international interest. She held exhibitions in Boston and Paris.  In 1897, she followed her husband to Japan, where he had been given a teaching position. Her works, thus, began to be influenced by the Japanese style. In 1908, Perry returned to Boston permanently, and in 1922, she gave her first solo exhibition in New York.  In later life, Perry turned to painting primarily landscapes.

Perry’s paintings of women are soft and ethereal. She enjoyed painting her own daughters who obviously loved cats and are captured lovingly holding their pets. However, perhaps the most famous of her portraits of women with cats is that of Woman with a Cat. Here the cat is portrayed as the central figure, perhaps indicating its dominance over the woman that holds him. Her back is turned away from the viewer, as if her own identity is unimportant.

In 1933, Perry died and her ashes and those of her husband, who had died in 1928, were buried at Pine Ridge Cemetery in Hancock, New Hampshire.



Lilla Cabot Perry (1848 – 1933, American) - Portrait of the artist's daughter with a cat

Portrait of the artist’s daughter with a cat




Lilla Cabot Perry, Edith with Lierre, 1895, cats in art

Edith with Lierre, 1895



Want to know more about the cat in art, history and literature? Then Revered and Reviled is the book for you. Now available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. 


Revered and Reviled: A Complete History of the Domestic Cat, cat history, cats


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