Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cats in Art: Raminou and Pitcher With Carnations (Valadon)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. I'm using some ideas from the coffee table book, The Cat in Art, by Stefano Zuffi.

This is part 7 of 7 of a multiweek study of the cat art of Suzanne Valadon. A French painter (1865-1838), she had quite the interesting life (summarized from Wikipedia):

Suzanne Valadon became a circus acrobat at the age of fifteen, but a year later, a fall from a trapeze ended that career. In Paris, she pursued her interest in art, first working as a model for artists, observing and learning their techniques, before becoming a noted painter herself. She modelled for Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (who gave her painting lessons) and Pierre-Auguste Renoir....Valadon frequented the bars and taverns of Paris along with her fellow painters, and she was Toulouse-Lautrec's subject in his oil painting The Hangover....Valadon painted still lifes, portraits, flowers, and landscapes that are noted for their strong composition and vibrant colors. She was, however, best known for her candid female nudes. A perfectionist, she worked on some of her oil paintings for up to 13 years before showing them....A free spirit, she wore a corsage of carrots, kept a goat at her studio to "eat up her bad drawings", and fed caviar (rather than fish) to her "good Catholic" cats on Fridays....Both an asteroid (6937 Valadon) and a crater on Venus are named in her honor.

Image credit Wikipaintings, Raminou and Pitcher With Carnations, 1932, Suzanne Valadon, oil on canvas, held in private collection.
So, as we saw the last two weeks (here and here), Raminou is lounging, and at the same time relaxed, yet alert and eager for human interaction.  Like he's saying, "I'm a good kitty, please play with me!"
The pose is one the bride and I call "conserving," where Raminou's front paws are tucked under to stay warmer.  I don't know in what month Valadon painted this, but I'd assume it was a bit chilly.  Otherwise Raminou would have been sprawled on his back to dissipate heat.
So as we reach the end of the Suzanne Valadon series, I can say that I've really enjoyed putting these up and thereby enjoying the paintings myself.  Her style is simple yet with a a lot of subtle detail that you only notice when you spend some time with the image.
And, of course, Raminou has been a real delight.  I would like to have known that cat.

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