Last Updated on: November 29, 2023 by Crystal Uys
Cats have lived alongside humans for thousands of years, and you can find depictions of them in all kinds of artwork. They can be found in art pieces of ancient civilizations, and they’re also often used as subjects of modern artwork. As we all know, cats are fascinating creatures that are so much fun to watch.
There are many artists who are also cat people, and a quick internet search will show thousands of paintings of cats. We can’t list every single painting of a cat, but we can list a few of our favorites. Here are some of the most renowned cat paintings that you’ll love and appreciate.
Our 15 Favorite Famous Cat Paintings:
1. The Bachelor’s Party
The Bachelor’s Party is an iconic painting of cats that’s recognized by many cat lovers and art enthusiasts. Louis Wain is a famous English artist and is well-known for his thousands of art pieces that depict cats engaging in human activities and behavior.
This particular painting depicts cats gathering together over drinks and cigars. Many admirers of this piece enjoy drawing attention to each individual cat’s actions. Each cat shows a different emotion that’s mainly highlighted through their eyes, and they all combine to tell a lively story.
2. The White Cat
The White Cat is a humorous drawing created by French artist Pierre Bonnard. It shows a white cat with no neck and extremely elongated legs. The shape of the cat is extremely deliberate, as its X-ray images show many changes and revisions. Some of these revisions can be seen in the final painting itself.
The final result is a caricature that shows appreciation and love for cats. The cat has a sly but sweet expression on their face, and the overall painting often reminds viewers of a cat’s charming and comical personality.
3. Cat Catching a Bird
Pablo Picasso created Cat Catching a Bird as a means of expressing his experiences and thoughts revolving around political and personal events in his life during 1939. This painting is one of Picasso’s depictions and interpretations of war. Both the cat and the bird show signs of struggle and determination that reflect and represent the experiences of the opposing sides of a war. The painting also naturally evokes strong feelings as both animals display intense emotions and actions.
4. The Black Cat
The Black Cat was painted by Min Zhen, a Chinese painter who was born in 1730. He was most known for his ink paintings of people, and he also had artwork of various animals. The Black Cat was originally painted on a hanging scroll with ink. It depicts a plump tuxedo cat with a happy and content expression on his face. It’s very clear that this cat is loved and taken care of very well.
5. The Cat
|Bart van der Leck
Bart van der Leck was a Dutch painter born in 1876. He was one of the founders of the De Stijl art movement and is known for his abstract art style. He was inspired to paint The Cat after visiting the Louvre and viewing classical Egyptian artwork. He intentionally used a limited selection of colors and very simplified shapes and forms in this painting. The result is a mix of classical Egyptian influences and his personal abstract style.
6. A White Cat Playing With a String
Hiroshige II is a Japanese artist who was best known for his ukiyo-e art. He was born Suzuki Chinpei and studied under Hiroshige. He eventually became Hiroshige’s top pupil and started going by Hiroshige II.
This particular art piece is the result of Hiroshige II’s careful observations of a housecat. The cat has a very serious and determined expression on her face as she pounces on a piece of string. It accurately depicts the bold and playful nature that many cats possess.
7. Julie Manet or Child With Cat
Pierre-August Renoir was a French artist. Early parts of his career depict more impressionist paintings, but his style shifted to a more disciplined technique over the years. His interest was also in portrait paintings rather than landscape art. Child With Cat was painted during Renoir’s rejection of impressionism. It highlights the playfulness and innocence of childhood. The cat has a relaxed and content facial expression and posture that adds to the childish feeling of the painting.
Suzanne Valadon mostly focused on paintings and portraits of women, but it’s pretty clear that she enjoyed painting cats. Some of her paintings have cats as the focal point, while others will have them in the background.
Raminou is a painting of an orange tabby cat. The cat is sitting comfortably on a blanket and has a calm expression on his face. The lack of movement in the picture draws attention to the deliberate design and detail of the colors and stripes on his coat.
9. Cats Suggested as the Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido
Cat lovers will appreciate the vast number of unique cats drawn in this painting. It was created by Utagawa Kuniyoshi and is a depiction of the 53 rest areas and 2 endpoints along the Tokaido road, which is a route that runs from Edo to Kyoto.
This painting is a spoof of Kuniyoshi’s Fifty-Three Stations on the Tokaido Road. It has a lot of motion in it, as all the cats are engaging in different behaviors and actions.
10. Tournée du Chat Noir
|Théophile Alexandre Steinlen
This painting is one of the most recognized cat paintings, and you can find many reprints of it hanging in all sorts of places. It was created by Théophile Alexandre Steinlen, a Swiss-French artist and printmaker.
Tournée du Chat Noir was initially an advertisement for a famous cabaret known as Le Chat Noir. Le Chat Noir was a popular meeting place in Montmartre for artists and writers. It’s most likely that Tournee du Chat Noir was an advertisement that was posted in areas where Le Chat Noir’s traveling company was performing during their summer tours.
11. The Cat’s Lunch
|Late 18th Century
Marguerite Gérard was a French painter who was most known for her oil paintings and portraits. She was known to add cats to many of her paintings of domestic scenes. The Cat’s Lunch is a fan favorite, as it shows a humorous scene of a cat being served by her subjects. The woman and the dog are both seated on the ground and observing the cat while the woman holds the dish for the cat. It’s pretty clear that the cat is royalty in this picture and is receiving the adoration and attention that she deserves.
12. Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy
David Hockney is a famous British painter who was extremely influential in the 20th century. He was most known for his involvement in the 1960s pop art movement. Hockney painted still life paintings and created many paintings of real people in his life.
This particular painting has a couple that are both staring at the viewer. Meanwhile, Percy the cat has his back to the viewer and is choosing to stare out the window instead. Because of his unique and deliberate positioning, Percy is often interpreted as a symbol of libertinism and one who doesn’t really care to follow conventional rules.
13. Two Children Teasing a Cat
Two Children Teasing a Cat is a Baroque oil canvas painting that was created by Annibale Carracci. It’s most often recognized and appreciated for its technical skill and realism. The painting portrays a boy and a girl teasing a cat with a crawfish. The cat looks displeased and annoyed, and you can tell by their position that they’re ready to swipe.
The girl’s hand is also placed within reach of the cat’s front paws. You can feel the tension in the painting and that you’re watching the moment where the cat has run out of patience and is about to scratch the girl’s hand.
14. The Cat At Play
Henriette Ronner-Knip was a Dutch-Belgian artist who studied Romantic art. Most of her artwork revolved around domestic animals and pets that lived in middle-class homes. She was particularly fond of painting cats.
This particular painting shows a cat sitting on a table with scattered domino tiles. It’s implied that a domino game had been finished, and the players had left the table. The cat takes this vacancy as an opportunity to leap onto the table and claim the domino tiles as their new toy.
15. The Bridge
|Carl Olof Larsson
Carl Olof Larsson was a Swedish painter who painted with frescos, oils, and watercolors. He was most known for creating watercolor paintings depicting family life.
The Bridge is mostly painted with bright and light colors, so any objects with darker colors stand out immediately. Though it only takes up a small portion of the painting, the black cat becomes one of the focal points of the painting due to its dark color. It’s peering over at a man on a bridge, and its positioning accurately depicts a cat’s cautious curiosity.
Throughout the many centuries of different art movements, cats have consistently remained the object of interest for many artists. There’s no doubt that they make interesting subjects and spark creative inspiration. Whether they’re the main subject or a detail added in the background, they’ll still capture your eye and reveal more depth and movement to any painting.
Featured Image Credit: art4you1, Shutterstock
About the author
Cat mom to Ivy – a feisty little rescue kitten that is her one and only child. For now! Throughout her life, she has been introduced to the special love that can be found in the bond with a cat. Having owned multiple felines, she is more than certain that their love is unmatched, unconditional and unlike any other. With a passion to educate the public about everything, there is to know about felines, their behavior, and their unique personalities, Crystal is devoted to making sure that all cats and their owners know the importance of conscious living – and loving!
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