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Feline Art - Resources for Artists

Updated on September 3, 2015
"Pick of the Litter" - a coloured pencil drawing  copyright Katherine Tyrrell
"Pick of the Litter" - a coloured pencil drawing copyright Katherine Tyrrell | Source

This lens is about feline art

Learn how to draw a cat and about other resources for feline artists.

This site shares information about:

  • feline art
  • feline artists - past and present,
  • feline art societies,
  • feline art bloggers,
  • collections of feline art
  • books about feline art

Plus other resources which support the stimulation and development of feline art.

Cats in Art History - Who knew so many famous artists painted cats?

There's a very long tradition of painting cats and many of the most famous artists in the world have drawn and painted cats.

Who painted cats?

In western art, the range of artists producing paintings of cats varies from:

  • artists in ancient Egypt, Greece, China and Japan
  • old masters artists such as Van Eyck, Raphael, Leonardo, Bruegel, Rembrandt, Chardin, Gainsborough, Fragonard, Manet, Renoir, Bonnard, Gauguin
  • to Modern Masters e.g. Matisse, Balthus, Picasso and Warhol.

Maybe you'd like to join the illustrious list of artists who have painted cats?

The Cat in Art
The Cat in Art
Hardcover: 360 pages Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; First Edition edition (April 1, 2007)

The Cat in Art

"The Cat in Art" includes 170 great art masterpieces from the ancient world to the present.

It includes paintings by many of the great old masters, Impressionists and Post Impressionists and more Modern Painters.

It rates an Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars based on 25 customer reviews

This is the first book I bought about cats - produced by a museum.

The British Museum focuses on the timeline of different cultures around the world through history and it's unsurprising that in this book it explores the place of the cat in cultures around the world, from ancient times to the present.

Cats in the Louvre
Cats in the Louvre
Hardcover: 80 pages Publisher: Flammarion; 1 edition (February 12, 2008)

Cats in the Louvre

Treat yourself to this book about cats in artwork in The Louvre in Paris.

Each cat is shown in detail and in the painting in its entirely - with an accompanying commentary.

This is a book about fine art felines from the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This is a book I intend to buy as my experience is that books about paintings of cats produced by the better museums of art are often much better than those produced by others. In part this is because they own the paintings or can collaborate much more easily with other museums who also have paintings of cats!

Catnip: Artful Felines from The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Catnip: Artful Felines from The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Publisher: Chronicle Books (October 13, 2005) Language: English

How to draw and paint a cat

How to sketch a cat - in 30 SECONDS! - DOWNLOAD this "Making A Mark Guide" FREE!

Who is this guide for?

This guide is for people who want to learn how to:

  • sketch their cat
  • create better drawings of their cat
  • draw from life rather than from photos
  • develop observational skills
  • develop skills in sketching quickly
  • develop drawing skills generally

What the guide covers

4 key points explain how to sketch you cat in 30 seconds

  • why the location of your sketchbook matters
  • what to do if the cat moves
  • advice on how to use your time and what to look for
  • 5 great tips for how to look and how draw a cat in 30 seconds* what you need to do next

This publication is available as a pdf file and can be downloaded for free for personal educational use only

My Feline Art

"Eyes Left" - available as a fine art print
"Eyes Left" - available as a fine art print

Feline Art: Artists, Art Societies & Art Exhibitions

Exhibitions and art societies for feline artists

In the UK, the Society of Feline Artists supports the development and display of cat paintings and cat portraits and the promotion of art by feline artists. For those looking to make a career as a feline artist, joining and exhibiting with SOFA can be a very good way of building a fan base for your art.

Fans of feline art are also very keen collectors and the exhibitions of cat art often generate very respectable sales for the participating artists

The USA does not seem to have an equivalent art society which I find somewhat surprising. However what has happened in the USA is that individuals have created exhibitions about cat art - for invited artists.

One such exhibition took place in Los Angeles in the summer of 2014 and was covered by Time Magazine. Maybe not surprising given the popularity of photographs of cats online.

Blogging about the annual exhibition of the Society of Feline Artists

Below you can see links to the slideshows and webpages of images of feline art which has been selected for annual exhibitions

Plus blog posts about the show

Artists who draw and paint cats

Admire the art of established feline artists - and the variety of ways in which cats can be depicted

While realism is often a preferred style of cat artists, individual artists display a wide range of styles in delivering cat art.

It's often said that the best way to develop your art is to look at the old masters and the work of current contemporary artists. The same method works very well for the budding cat artist. Looking at the art on the websites of existing cats artists shows you the very many and varied ways that cats can be portrayed both in terms of subject matter and style of artwork.

Blogs by Feline Artists

This includes links on non art blogs to posts about feline artists working in a variety of styles

The History of Cat Art

Many painters have painted cats over the years and some painters have even gone on to paint cats into famous paintings.....

BOOK: The Cat: 3500 Years of the Cat in Art

Amazon reviews: 5.0 out of 5 stars (3 customer reviews) | Like (4)This illustrated book examines the relationship between cats and humans from ancient times to the present, offering fascinating insights into the prominence of the cat in art in cultures worldwide. Thematic chapters explore in detail a rich and rewarding collection of paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures, creating a book that will have enduring appeal among art lovers and cat lovers alike.

The Cat: 3500 Years of the Cat in Art
The Cat: 3500 Years of the Cat in Art
Hardcover: 288 pages Publisher: Merrell Publishers (October 18, 2011)

BOOKS - Feline Art in History - books on Amazon

Below you can find some serious - and some not so serious - books about the cat in feline art history.

Steinlen Cats (Dover Fine Art, History of Art)
Steinlen Cats (Dover Fine Art, History of Art)
These 66 drawings and 8 picture-stories represent the best of Steinlen's scattered, rare cat depictions, available nowhere else. Artists will learn cat dynamics from the spare, expressive lines.
Louis Wain - The Man Who Drew Cats
Louis Wain - The Man Who Drew Cats
Perhaps the best loved illustrator of comic cats of the twentieth century. Born in 1860 Wain became a household name for his cat illustrations in the 1890s.
The Cats Gallery of Western Art
The Cats Gallery of Western Art
Susan Herbert's innovative and witty feline renderings of famous masterpieces have won her a large admiring public.
Impressionist Cats and Dogs: Pets in the Painting of Modern Life
Impressionist Cats and Dogs: Pets in the Painting of Modern Life
Rubin explores nineteenth-century opinions on cats and dogs and compares handbook illustrations to the animals shown in Impressionist works. He also provides fascinating information on pet ownership and on the place of Impressionism in the long history of animal painting.
Louis Wain's Cats
Louis Wain's Cats
Hardcover: 256 pages Publisher: Worth Press; Limited edition (September 15, 2011)

BOOK: Louis Wain's Cats - by Chris Beetles

Amazon reviews: 5.0 out of 5 stars (4 customer reviews)

This significant new biography by Chris Beetles, published by Worth Press, contains over 330 colour images.

It became an instant bestseller in the genre, propelling Louis Wain to the premier position amongst cat artists over the last 100 years.

Movie Cats
Movie Cats
Hardcover: 64 pages Publisher: Thames & Hudson (October 30, 2006)

BOOK: Movie Cats - by Susan Herbert

Amazon reviews: 5.0 out of 5 stars (6 customer reviews)

Susan Herbert has won a lot of fans for her feline art portraying cats as humans - this time she covers the movies.

The Cats History of Western Art
The Cats History of Western Art
Hardcover: 62 pagesPublisher: Bulfinch Pr; 1st US edition (April 1994)

BOOK: The Cats History of Western Art - By Susan Herbert

Amazon reviews: 5.0 out of 5 stars (2 customer reviews)

Thirty-two cat paintings--based on masterpieces by Michelangelo, Whistler, Sargent, Van Gogh, and many others

Susan Herbert takes a humorous look at the history of art.

Pre-Raphaelite Cats
Pre-Raphaelite Cats
Hardcover: 64 pages Publisher: Thames & Hudson (September 1, 1999)

BOOK: Pre-Raphaelite Cats - by Susan Herbert

Amazon reviews: 5.0 out of 5 stars (3 customer reviews)

A collection of Susan Herbert's feline versions of famous Pre-Raphaelite paintings.

Paintings by artists such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones and William Holman Hunt can be viewed in a new way when their protagonists are cats.

BOOKS Feline Art - books on Amazon

The Cat and the Human Imagination: Feline Images from Bast to Garfield
The Cat and the Human Imagination: Feline Images from Bast to Garfield
The Cat and the Human Imagination is a fascinating historical survey of the changing cultural attitudes towards cats and the myriad ways that they have been depicted in literature and art. Feline images have permeated civilization since the time of the ancient Egyptians, and during this time the status of the cat has changed dramatically. The book examines the changing images-- fertility goddess, sly little predator, agent of Satan, avenging witness, aristocrat, friend, spirit of the home, bloodthirsty killer, seductive female--and relates them to the contexts in which they arose. It also analyzes how human attitudes towards cats seem to have evolved in parallel with attitudes towards animals, towards authority, and towards gender.Western literature and visual art have reflected this change, developing from bare sketches to richly varied expressions of feline personality and human interaction with cats.

Major Cat Organisations

These are very helpful if you are looking for tips on different breeds of cats and their particular highlighted features and what a cat ought to look like

Stimulating the eye - images of cats and kittens

When I'm looking for some stimulation for my feline art endeavours I look at photos of cats and kittens taken by other people. Sometimes they remind of similar ones I've got of my own cats. Sometimes they give me an indication of what other people really like.

Information about Cats, Breeds and Cat Societies

Cat Societies - by breeds

Wanting to check the breed points or to find some cats as models - check out the cat societies and their cat shows

Cat Humour - Sites which give you a reminder of all the reasons we love cats

The Internet abounds with sites about the funny things cats do and these can provide a stimulus for feline artwork which people respond to. Here are a few aites which can give you "paws for thought" when you get an artistic block!

© 2006 Katherine Tyrrell


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