If I could choose one artist to invite over for dinner, it might be the Swiss painter and multimedia artist Paul Klee. He lived from 1879 to 1940. I’d have him bring along one of his favorite cats, maybe Fritzi. Paul Klee loved cats. He painted “Idol for House Cats” in 1924, shortly before Fritzi died.
It’s a watercolor, unusually done on primed canvas instead of the traditional paper. He made it multi-media by pasting on a black lace veil, maybe as a sign of mourning after Fritzi died. The cat looks inscrutable, a little intimidating, yet he has a sweet heart-shaped mouth. Cats are thought to be aloof, but try telling that to anyone who loves them.
“We are mourning him as if he were our child and best friend,” Klee wrote.
I saw quite a few Klee paintings recently at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California.
I loved “Tomcat’s Hunting Ground” too, from Klee in 1919. I think it was on loan from the Albertina in Vienna. I love the childlike joy in so much of Klee’s work.
Back in my home state of Minnesota for a fall visit, I saw an exhibit by a young artist who reminds me of Klee. Jimmy Reagan is a young autistic man in his twenties.
He’s been painting seriously for about ten years. I loved his cat, titled “Barbara.”
I loved his “Orange Lion” too. He carves some of his images into sheets of foam, then paints them. I think he’s wonderful. I’ll devote another post to Jimmy’s other work.
Then there are the ceramic cats one of my grandchildren made recently. This cat knows exactly how beautiful and amazing she is.
This one is a jar that holds things, maybe cat treats.
And last but not least, there are the gorgeous, brilliant, not-at-all-aloof actual cats that share my house with me. I’m inspired to try painting their portraits. We’ll see how that goes!