Why Cats Paint: a Theory of Feline Aesthetics, by Heather Busch and Burton Silver (Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 1994) (ISBN 0-89815-623-8) directly faces the question asked in its title, and the authors do an excellent job providing some insights, even if they're only human. Beginning with a historical analysis of cat painting (that's cats actually creating paintings, in case there's any ambiguity in the phrase), Busch and Silver discover ample historical evidence of cat painters at work in various societies and time periods. They propose some of the standard psychological theories interpreting this feline artistic behavior (discerned, of course, by people; why not ask a cat?). The meat-and-potatoes portion of the book explores particular feline artists of some renown, although this sounds somewhat "tongue-in-cheek" to me, to borrow a human phrase. There are wonderfully descriptive color photographs to accompany the authors' artistically analytical treatments of the feline artists' works. They seem to be taking all this rather seriously. And why not? Some of these cat paintings have sold for tens of thousands of dollars! How much cash has your (human) artwork brought at auction or sale? Yeah, I thought so. So don't strike a 'tude with ol' Cauli, here.
Who, you may query, was Louis Wain? Some artistic allusions are meant to be cryptic. But you could read about him here, there, and everywhere.
My Art Sells for Plenty, Believe You Me,
Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
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