June 17, 2005

Friday Psychotic Cat-Blogging

Louis Wain, an artist at the turn of the 19th century, was obsessed with cats, loved them, painted them everywhere and on everything. Early on in his life, he preferred comic scenes like this one, arranging a few lovable little furr-balls around the table, all smirking at their rakish comrade's wry cat-joke:


Kierkegaard had Regina Olsen, J.M. Barrie had the Llewyn-Davies boys, and Louis Wain's four-legged muse was a black and white cat named Peter. (Wain started drawing Peter, in fact, to cheer up his wife, who was a) dying of cancer and b) scandalously, his youngest sister's governess.) Sadly, though, in the last 15 years of his life Wain suffered from schizophrenia, was admitted to a mental hospital, and continued his cat work on through the advanced stages of his illness. A bit psychedelic in this one:


More in the tie-dye vein:


And in the later stages, total cat breakdown:


Amazing! These pictures, by the way, are sometimes shown in psychology textbooks, although I'm not sure what they're supposed to show, besides maybe the worldview of a single schizophrenic with cats on the brain. More Wain art here, here, and especially here.
-- Brad Plumer 12:26 PM || ||