Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Louis Wain Would Have Understood

Thanks once again to CircMaster's alertness, we have a fantastic readers' advisory subject for today's blog.  Louis Wain would have understood.

Why Not?

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.

My Library has this book available to check-out (MPL Call No. 636.8 BUS), if you happen to have an Evergreen Indiana library card handy.  You may place a hold on the book using the online catalog, or you could visit your Evergreen Indiana library to check it out or place a hold--whatever.  This circulation stuff makes my head swim.

Still finding this cat painting concept difficult to get your heads around?  (How many heads do you have, anyway?)  Well, watch this video, "Tigers [Heart, i.e., Love] to Paint."

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
Artsy Feline News Beat

P.S.  I know that Junior of Junior's Farm (I forget his French name at the moment) is my Library's special arts & crafts correspondent, but he is presently covering another story.  Or sleeping.  Same thing, really.


  1. Wow, I would like to know what they put in that paint in the Big Cat video - it must have been yummy! I think I might like to try that!

    I have both the Why Cats Paint book, and another by the same authors, Dancing With Cats. In fact, I reviewed Dancing with Cats on my blog several years ago.

  2. Hey, Cauli, my French name is Jeune de La Ferme de Jeune. Geez! You're supposed to be French!

    Purrs & Headbutts,


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