Cats, art and artists share a special bond and in celebration of International Cat Day, we invite you on a feline tour of our Collection and beyond.
Cats provide companionship and friendship, roles they represent in art, though cats are also placed to add an extra dimension, be it an emotion, sense of calm or surreal juxtaposition. Below, we will introduce works by Ge Yutao, Donna Lacey-Derstine and Salvidor Dali, but will leave you to consider the Cat’s purrrpose.
“My paintings are inspired by life, but they do not describe the reality of life… …Life is so rich, gorgeous, full of delicacy, mysterious, she motivates and inspires me any time in my creative activity”. Yutao Ge.
Yutao Ge was born in 1974 and raised in China where she painted prolifically from the young age of 6. With the encouragement of her family, she went on to study fine art, completing her undergraduate in 1993 and Masters from Luxun Academy of Fine Arts National (Shenyang, Liaoning Province) in 1998. The following year, Yutao Ge moved to France where she lives and works today, exhibiting widely across Europe, focusing upon France, Germany and Luxembourg.
The Buro Art team enjoy hanging Yutao Ge’s Musician portraits when out on site, as they are real conversation pieces, especially the ones with cats! In “Un Air de Banjo” the musical instrument clearly enjoys the most comfortable seat, while the musician sleeps next to a content, paw-licking cat.
The cat’s presence in “Un Air de Banjo” and the above “Femme au Luth ” are very different, the cat seems to portray as much, if not more emotion than the human form.
History is full of examples of the relationship between the domestic cat and humans. Suffice to say, within China, the tradition of humans owning cats can be traced back over five thousand five hundred years. Yutao Ge’s paintings seem to explore this relationship, within her creative and imaginary world.
Yutao Ge believes her paintings have a magical, mysterious quality, perhaps some of this mystery and magic the artist enjoys is signified within the cat. Notoriously contrary animals, they can be both unpredictable and calming companions.
Yutao Ge expresses her faith in the benefits and importance of creativity practice through her use of abstraction, her rhythmic application of paint and vibrant colors and the visual representation of music.
The relationship between artists and cats has been explored in a wonderfully varied book by Alison Nastasi. Above is Salvidor Dali (1904 – 1989) with his pet ocelot Babou whom the artist received as a gift and took everywhere with him. Dali featured cats regularly in his works.
Above is one of Dali’s staged, surreal photos “Dali Atomicus” made in collaboration with Philippe Halsman in 1948. Carefully crafted in a time long before photoshop, you can just see some of the threads supporting different structures, but bear in mind, it took 28 attempts to capture the “flying’ cats in real time, that’s 28 times they were thrown through the air, perhaps not the best way to care for cats!
Edward Lear’s poems are so rich in imagery that many musicians, artists, designers, and art students have created their own interpretations. Inspired by the Naieve school and American Folk Art, the above print sits in the Buro Art Collection and is one of a series inspired by Nursery Rhymes from Donna Lacey-Derstine. Edward Lear’s “The Owl and The Pussy Cat” is known and cherished by many as a charming poem for Children. The un-named “Pussy Cat” must surely be one of the most famous cats.
Derstine was born in 1959 in rural Pennsylvania, USA where her love of animals and the natural world was established. She studied painting and illustration at Philadelphia college of Art, then set up home and studio in a farmhouse near the White Mountains in west Maine, where she lives with her family, two dogs and a tabby cat.
International Cat Day exists to raise awareness for cats and learn how to help and protect our feline friends. The Happy Cat Campaign, aims to ensure cats of all ages and stages are looked after appropriately. International Cat Care, a charitable organisation states that:
“Studies show that interactions with cats may improve health and reduce physical responses to stress. Having a cat in the household may also improve psychological health by providing emotional support to people suffering from depression, anxiety and loneliness.”
At Buro Art, we share this belief, and in the wider benefits of art. Who knows, perhaps cats in art is the winning combination for non-cat owners? Well, perhaps these kitties have brightened your day!
Have a wonderful weekend and a happy Caturday!