I think other cat lovers will agree that for every 10 dog-lover’s product there’s probably just 1 cat-lover’s product. I love dogs, but I love cats too, and the cat lover in me is always a little bit jealous by everything available for dog lovers.
So when I saw that Chronicle was publishing an entire book devoted to the cats of famous artists, Artists and Their Cats by Alison Nastasi, I sat up a little straighter, prouder, and pre-ordered the book to make sure I didn’t forget about it!
Disclosure of Material Connection: Quick housekeeping, I’m writing this post on my own volition out of love for this book. I’m not affiliated with the publisher. I’m just a fan-girl book nut who wants to share one of my favorite books with you! However, some of the links in the post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
What a treasure trove! Of course I was looking forward to seeing my favorite artists like Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe with their cats, but I really enjoyed discovering new artists I had never heard of before. Keep your smartphone handy while browsing because when you get to artists you’re not familiar with you’ll want to look up their work.
Do yourself a favor and don’t look at the contents page. Let yourself be surprised with every page turn!
I learned I have something in common with Gustav Klimt! We both named our cats ‘Katze’, which is German for ‘cat’.
Side note: Katze and I both relish a good ‘new book smell.’
I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone in any way, so carry on and buy Artists and Their Cats here if you want to be completely surprised, and come back when you’re done reading it.
I’d love to share with you my favorite artist from the book and my favorite photo.
Nastasi did an excellent job succinctly summarizing each artist’s career and cat relationship. The artist who completely impressed me, and I also had never heard of was Suzanne Valadon on pages 98 and 99:
“Any cat lucky enough to call nineteenth-century French artist Suzanne Valadon a friend was in for an adventure. The first female painter granted acceptance to the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Valadon began her career as a circus acrobat. She became a respected art model, posing for well-known painters such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, and Pierre-Cécile Puvis de Chavannes, and later married her own sitter, painter André Utter. With encouragement from friends, including Edgar Degas, Valadon began her own foray into the art world. She was known for her female nudes--a subject most women artists eschewed during the period. Her vibrant still lifes, portraits, and interiors often included cats. Several such companions took up residence in her studio over the years. The free-spirited artist used her finest fashions to create beds for them. Her kitties were lavished with beluga caviar on Fridays and kept company by a German sheep dog and a goat, which she fed her bad drawings to.”
Nastasi, Alison. Artists and Their Cats. Chronicle, 2015. Print.
I’m surprised no one has turned her fantastic life story into a Hollywood blockbuster. She sounds fascinating!
Now my absolute favorite photo in this photography-filled-book is on page 57, for Henri Cartier-Bresson and Martine Franck. It is one of those photos that seems lucky and genius all rolled into one. I’m unsure about sharing the image due to copyright concerns, however you can check it on slide 9 of this article/slideshow from Time: “Our cat Ulysses and Martine's shadow,” 1989. Henri Cartier-Bresson—Magnum Photos.
Small, but mighty at 6” x 8”...the book is very portable while still packing in the content. You can snuggle up with it on the couch without straining your wrists, and if your cat wants to join there’s space for both! They probably didn’t think of that when designing it, but its true. Katze proves it!
I highly recommend this book to any cat lover because it really does honor the cat-human bond in a sophisticated way, which is truly a refreshing break from the comedic treatments of cats we typically see.
Do you have any recommendations of books for cat lovers? I’m always on the hunt, so leave me a note in the comments! Or if you’re reading this post via email newsletter, reply with any suggestions <3
“Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo . . . so many great artists have shared one very special love: the companionship of cats. Gathered here for the first time are behind-the-scenes stories of more than 50 famous artists and their feline friends. From Salvador Dali's pet ocelot Babou to John Lennon and Yoko Ono's menagerie of cats, including Salt (who was black) and Pepper (who was white), Artists and Their Cats captures these endearing friendships in charming photographs and engaging text, and reveals what creative souls and the animals best known for their independent spirits have in common. In this clever compilation, art aficionados will discover a softer side of their favorite artists, and cat lovers will enjoy a whole new way to celebrate their favorite furry friends.”
#artistsandtheircats #chroniclecrush #alistasi
I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks about pets who are long gone. Marmalade is the ‘one who started it all’ for me. His memory certainly lives on in my home through my girls Katze and Jayla. What better way to honor a pet who has passed by opening up your heart and home to a new pet who needs love?
I hate it when I can’t find something. I wanted to share a specific old photo with you. It is probably my first pet photo I ever took, and I’ve been digging through all my photo boxes I have for the past month looking for it
I have wonderful news!
Katze is looking at me as if to say, “Did you get fired? Are we poor now? Will I still get treats?”
I ignore her, let her sweat it out.
She rubs up against me. I guess she’ll still love me even though if we couldn't afford treats.
I have a four day weekend from my day job for Memorial Day weekend, and I thought it would be fun to imagine I’m finally really living the dream, and working 8-4 from home on Polar Bear Studio Pet Photography.
I got so much accomplished, it’s amazing. Finished up Melissa’s retouching, got her proof book ordered and it should be here next Wednesday or so, and got a good jump on making my first order catalog. I’ll need it by the time Melissa’s proof book arrives.
I could easily get used to this!