Frans Masereel  (1889 – 1972, Flemish)

Frans Masereel, Self portraitFrans Masereel  (1889 –  1972, Flemish)  is best known for his graphics and black and white woodblock prints. Born in Belgium, he moved to Ghent in 1896 where he began to study at the École des Beaux-Arts at the age of 18. In 1909, Masereel traveled to England and Germany. Then in 1911 he moved to Paris and then emigrated to Switzerland where he started working as a graphic artist for magazines and journals.

Masereel was unable to return to Belgium after WWI because he had refused to serve in the military, claiming he was a pacifist. Consequently, Masereel lived in a variety of European capitals. With the invasion of the Nazis of Paris in 1940, he fled to the south of France.

Masereel’s woodcuts are generally expressionist and form a critical view of society. Throughout his career, he published many “wordless” novels. The most famous of which was Passionate Journey. In addition to his novels, he illustrated many books.

Engraving of Cat, from The City by Frans Masereel

Engraving of Cat, from The City

Some of his woodcuts focus directly on cats, making it inevitable that he was a cat lover. Other woodcuts include cats especially with women.


Frans Masereel, Woman and Cat

Woman and Cat


Frans Masereel, Dame mit Katze, Woman with Cat

Dame mit Katze, Woman with Cat

As an additional note, Masereel and MC Escher lived at the same time, even dying in the same year. Both produced woodcuts, and both loved cats.

Frans Masereel died in Avignon in 1972 and was buried in Ghent.


Black Cat 2 Frans Masereel


Black Cat Frans Masereel


Frans Masereel - Deux chattes



Frans Masereel, Le chat 1955

Le chat 1955


Frans Masereel, Cat on Cushion

Cat on Cushion


Want to know more about the cat in literature, art and history? 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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