Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cats in Art: Bourgeois Afternoon (Bonnard)

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 1 of 8 of a multiweek study of the cat art of Pierre Bonnard, a French painter (1867-1947).  In this series I will feature Bonnard's cat art both before and after this painting, which is one of his better known pieces.

This image is the first of two published by Zuffi, and dates from 1900.  I'll show the other (from 1912) next week: 

Image credit WikiPaintings, The Bourgeois Afternoon (or The Terrasse Family), Pierre Bonnard, 1900, oil on canvas, 54" x 83", held by Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France
Zuffi comments:
...three cats and a dog brighten the Terrasse family's country house; in their own way, they enjoy the sunshine and peace of  a Sunday afternoon in the company of members of the family, including numerous children, spanning three generations....One of these is certainly the cat, which unquestionably feels--and behaves--as if it were the true master of the house.  Fat, sated, and satisfied, ensconced on the cool grass, the cat is the only living thing in the painting that looks in our direction, establishing with the viewer a surprising and effective mode of communication.
All I can is, "Duh!"  Or in other words, Zuffi knows his cats: the gray and white feline truly owns the show here.
One other comment: from this image, it appears that Zuffi, or his editor, or translator, has made a mistake in counting animals: there are three dogs and one cat, not the other way around.
Note that I had previously done this Bonnard piece back in 2010, but I'm redoing it as part of my series study.  In that earlier post, I provided this quote:
In this detail from The Terrasse Family, the family cat enjoys a social afternoon with his humans.
Followed by my comment:
Actually, the humans are enjoying a social afternoon entertaining their cat.

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