Cats are worthy of being muses and the famous cat paintings are a witness to it.
Leonardo Da Vinci wasn’t kidding when he said “The smallest feline is a masterpiece.” For centuries cats have been the subject of art and admiration.
And let’s accept it, even today the internet is going bonkers about these crazy little creatures.
Being popular among Victorian women, cats have been portrayed as their companions in the famous cat paintings.
In fact, a lot of theorists have seen an uncanny resemblance between cats and female sexuality which has become the central idea in a lot of these famous paintings of cats.
So, without further ado, let’s have a look at these 23 famous cat paintings that have made history a little more hissss-terical.
23. Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, David Hockney
David Hockney is known for adding romance in paintings by creating paintings of imaginary couples in different scenarios.
One of such paintings happens to have a cat in the frame.
It is painted from the central perspective of the artist where both the characters seem to look out of the painting.
This famous cat art uses pastel shades that almost soothe your mind when you look at it.
When asked Hockney about this painting, he answered that the only aim of this painting was “to achieve the presence of two people in a room” with the main aim to “paint the relationship of these two people.”
Painted in: 1968
22. Two Children Teasing A Cat, Annibale Carracci
Have you ever teased a cat? Well, the only two reaction one can expect is either a scratch or a sudden jump!
Cats are hypersensitive to their surroundings and this cat painting pretty much explores that.
Viewers are presented to judge the result of teasing the cat. One can see the cat almost growling and about to react.
With directness and spontaneity, this famous cat painting carries the lesson of “Let sleeping dogs lie.”
Painted between: 1587 – 1588
21. The White Cat, Pierre Bonnard
Cats have this weird way of stretching themselves and Bonnard decided to capture the posture in this cat art.
This famous cat painting called The White Cat was painted in 1984 in Musée d’Orsay, Paris.
As easy as it may look, this is one of the famous paintings with cats that took Bonnard some time to decide on the placement of paws.
Bonnard mostly painted cats as the subject of art and has been known as a cat painter.
Painted in: 1984
20. The Cat’s Lunch, Marguerite Gérard
The Cat Lunch by Marguerite Gérard has been one of the famous paintings with cats.
Gérard was known to produce prolific oil paintings and her brother-in-law convinced her to add cats to her artworks.
She was known to depict domestic life and the importance of music and female companionship. But with time she started emphasizing the essence of a cat’s companionship.
A young lady feeding her cat shows a clear influence of both cats and females in her painting illustrating the experiences of motherhood and childhood within the household.
Painted between: Late 18th – Early 20th Century
P.S. – The dog’s face though. 😂
19. Julie Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, known for the development of impressionist paintings, was a very dear friend of Berthe Morisot and her husband, Eugène Manet.
The couple wanted him to paint a picture of their daughter Julie.
Now, I wouldn’t call it one of the typical famous paintings of cats since Renoir’s main subject was their daughter.
However, this is a very sweet memory and keeps reminding us of how cats have been an important part of almost every woman’s life in the medieval and post-medieval eras.
Honestly, I am unsure of how I would have lived without my cats.
Painted in: Date: 1887
18. The Cat, Bart Van Der Leck
Known to use geometric lines, and asymmetrical structures with simple colors, the De Stijl movement used abstract artwork to go beyond the limits of life and conventional art.
Bart Van Der Leck, the founder of the magazine (based on the same movement), painted The Cat.
It has been one of the most famous cat paintings of the 20th century.
Primarily his paintings consisted of three primary colors – yellow, blue, and red.
But post his travel to Paris, he was inspired by the artists around him and developed a likeness for sober and solid colors.
The result of which was The Cat.
Depicting the face of the cat from both sides and front using black, orange, red, and white as the only colors.
Indeed, one of the best famous paintings with cats – and very decent too.
Painted in: 1914
17. The Cat At Play, Henriette Ronner-Knip
Pet portraits have forever been popular among the wealthy bourgeois of the Victorian era.
Born in a family of painters, Henriette Ronner was also fond of painting her pets and the mischief each animal contained.
Most of her sentimental paintings were of her cats playing in the most innocent of manners. In fact, most of her cat paintings were of them getting involved in nasty domestic scenes.
They have proved to be her favorite.
She has also been an avid reader of cats as a subject for painting with sincerity.
To an extent that she built a glass studio to let her cats play around and get in all kinds of trouble so that she could capture their beauty.
The Cat At Play has become one of the best cat paintings among all the female painters.
Painted between: 1860 – 1878
16. The Black Cat, Min-Zhen
Min Zhen, a Chinese painter, was noted for painting human figures and occasional finger paints.
He has been associated with the Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou, a group of eight Chinese painters of the 18th century who were known for rejecting orthodox ideas about painting in favor of a style they deemed expressive and individualist.
Of the post-renaissance cat paintings, there is hardly any information about this cat painting.
All this is, is a painting of a gorgeous fat cat and nothing more than that.
Painted in: 18th Century
15. Cat Catching A Bird, Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso, one of the most famous artists, was always known for the kind of abstract art that he created.
However, Cat Catching A Bird, was less of an abstract and more of a depiction of the horrors of war.
This famous cat painting was commissioned in the year 1939 – the year of the war.
Picasso said, “the subject obsessed me, I don’t know why.”
The struggles of the bird to desperately free itself from the harsh torments of the cat were clear depictions of the horrors of war.
The background, as neutral as it could be, did nothing to add comfort.
The cat made sure to postpone the killing of the bird for as long as possible putting giving her absolute power.
Of all the famous cat paintings, this one has blown the apocalyptic covers to a new height. Picasso made sure to portray the gruesome experience of war through this painting.
Now we know how important cat paintings have been in the history of civilization.
Painted in: 1939
P.S. This is also one of the first famous black cat paintings on my list.
14. La Poeté, Marc Chagall
A pioneer of modernism in art, Marc Chagall, experienced the golden age of Paris.
He has not only been an influential figure of modernism but has also been a proactive practitioner of Surrealism, Symbolism, and Fauvism.
Throughout his life, he has painted the struggles of peasants, raw villages, and personal experiences of a Jewish village.
Chagall has forever been a cat person and has often used their reference to the fantastic character of his paintings.
Like Marguerite Gérard, Chagall also used cats as companions of the main subject, poets, musicians, and women.
Painted between: 1949-50
13. Raminou, Suzan Valadon
Suzan Valadon, the first woman painter to get admitted to Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, was a French painter known for her still paintings.
But she was majorly famous for her female nude paintings made from her perspective.
Suzan was also a cat lover and painted their portraits quite often.
Her famous paintings of cats have been of her favorite kitty Raminou.
The striking colors of this painting of her fat tabby ginger cat have taken people with aww.
Raminou, in fact, looks absolutely cuddly. The striking colors along with strong compositions have made the artwork look attractive.
It does stand out from all the famous cat paintings.
Painted in: 1920
12. A White Cat Playing with a String, Hiroshige II
Hiroshige II, a successor of his mentor, Hiroshige, mostly followed his painting styles and techniques.
It is mostly comprised of horizontal landscapes, urban populations, and travel art.
Hiroshige II came up with a unique style for this artwork particularly.
He observed his house cat for a long time and decided to paint a cat portrait while he was at play in a bold and minimal manner.
The whitetail blob cat was captured with his hind leg braced against the ground, biting the string.
A depiction of a very regular day in a cat and his owner’s life.
Now, it may not be an ideal famous painting of a cat but it surely captures the most innocent of things in the most minimal way.
Painted in: 1863
11. The White Cat, Franz Marc
Can you believe that this is one of the renaissance cat paintings?
Franz Marc was known for his pet portraits. He painted everything from horse portraits to dogs, and well…cats too.
Now, cats are inquisitive animals. And it was their personality that made Franz capture these animals when they did the most unusual of things.
He captured them ideally while sleeping and grooming themselves.
He believed that animals especially cats were a symbol of purity, innocence, truth, and beauty. Most of Franz’s famous cat paintings were of cats in baskets, pillows, and red cloth which were mostly painted in three colors to symbolize certain things.
For Franz blue represented masculinity and spirituality, yellow represented feminine happiness and red represented violence.
Making The White Cat one of the most famous cat paintings of history.
Painted in: 1698
10. Girl and Cat, Pierre-Auguste Renoir
We all know by now that Renoir’s subject of the painting remains feline and female, forever.
This painting is one of her more famous cat paintings. The central idea remains the same for both the portraits, but this one has a hinge of inquisitiveness and indifference attached to it.
Something took the cat’s attention and instantly alerted the woman too.
The perfect balance of a curious cat and an indifferent woman is well evident in the painting.
Painted between: 1880-1881
9. Woman With Cat, Kees Von Dongen
This is one of the most delicate cat paintings in history by a fauvist painter.
Dongen, juxtaposed delicate and serene colors to portray an androgynous woman.
The position of the woman tenderly holding the cat against her naked body –isn’t just another scene.
The curve of the female body goes along with the black cat while the woman’s headpiece is the epitome of the central idea.
Painted in: 1908
Interestingly, you can also own this beautiful painting.
Now I am not talking in Million dollars, it can be owned at as much as $300.
Check for yourself!
8. Cat Head, Georg Baselitz
This is a funny scene.
An almost humanized cat dominating a small dog.
Wow! Something being painted in 1966 with such a thought is indeed progressive.
We can also see a fence in between the cat and dog too.
This typical inversion by the figurative expressionist-cum-postmodernist painter is a symbol of both ruined post-Nazi Germany as well as the debatable artistic movements within the divided country.
Painted between: 1966-1977
7. By Day She Made Herself Into A Cat, Arthur Rackham
It is one of the very best black cat paintings, yet again.
This famous cat painting is about a witch who turns virgins into birds and cages them.
If you have read the Hansel and Gretel stories by the Grimm brothers, you will definitely be able to relate to this painting.
It is astonishing how of all the famous black cat paintings, this one has in reality been able to demonstrate a witch-like cat.
It is all in the eyes, and if you look a little closer into her eyes, you will be able to see the anger and power.
Painted in: 1920
6. The Bridge by Carl Olof Larsson
The painting is of a woman and her cat peeking at a man standing on the bridge.
The idea of the woman was to paint the bridge in solitude but is interrupted by a man.
Interestingly the focal point of the image remains the cat. There is an invisible thread connecting the cat and the man’s blackhead.
Most of the onlookers of this famous cat painting would want the cat to tug it so that the man can have a look at the woman.
There is a lot of curiosity prevalent in this watercolor artwork. However, at the same time, the artwork looks humorous.
Painted in: 1912
5. Sara Holding A Cat, Mary Cassatt
Mary Cassatt, an American artist, was known to capture the innocence of people’s children in a way that no one else could.
She was no new to capturing cats. In fact, she was often seen capturing young girls with their kittens.
One of such cat portraits was Sara holding a cat where you can see a little girl in a pink dress, holding her cat and looking affectionately towards her.
Cassatt has a weird affinity towards capturing the innocence, purity, and affection of kids that was so difficult to capture in adults.
This possibly looks like one of those acrylic cat paintings, but one isn’t sure.
What we do know is that Mary Cassatt became an important leading figure in the Impressionist movement in the latter half of her life.
Painted in: 1908
4. The Cat and Two Sparrows, Marc Chagall
We are aware of La Poeté by Marc Chagall but here’s another cat portrait from the same artist.
As I said, he was fond of paintings of cats which is pretty evident after this list.
Chagall was known to follow his unique style of abstract art, especially in portraying the daily world around him.
But as years passed, he found his comfort niche in cat paintings like The Cat and Two Sparrow.
This famous cat painting has used blurred lines and a warped perspective of what seems like a cat almost ready to pound on two birds.
Just waiting for them to come to a closer vicinity.
Two birds, one stone – one cat I must say!
Painted in: 1952
3. The Cook and The Cat, Théodule-Augustin Ribot
Taken from a very regular scene The Cook and The Cat couldn’t get any realistic.
Ribot was known for his famous paintings of domestic and kitchen scenes but this cat painting has stolen all the thunder.
Is it so that the cook’s friend has given a visit or is it that he is absolutely oblivious about the cat’s plan to snatch the fish?
What do you think? Comment below.
Painted in: 1860
2. Barber Shop with Monkeys and Cats, Abraham Teniers
How bizarre can a painting get?
Well, this is one of the top famous cat paintings by Abraham Teniers that has gotten recognition.
Anthropomorphizing cats and dogs into a human-like environment have been a portrait painting trend and this cat painting surpasses all.
Now the family Teniers belonged to were known to paint villages, inns, and as logical as it may sound, monkeys.
That’s how the entire idea of painting a barber scene with two of the most unpredictable animal species caught art enthusiasts’ attention.
Monkeys have been a part of Tenier’s paintings but it is the cats that steal the show. Making the monkeys work like servants and getting ready for the weekend. Bang on!
And since we are already there…
Another anthropomorphized artwork is on the way.
Painted between: 1629-1670
1. The Bachelor’s Party by Louis Wain
H.G. Wells remarked for Louis Wain, “he invented a cat style, a cat society, a whole cat world.”
H.G. Wells remarked for Louis Wain, “he invented a cat style, a cat society, a whole cat world.”
Louis Wain was known to create an entire world of cats and was obsessed with them on a different level.
It is believed that Wain was probably mentally ill with schizophrenia because of which he might have caught an obsession with cats.
He was in fact elected as the president of the National Cat Club and painted anthropomorphic portraits of cats.
He painted cat portraits for 30 years and has painted more than several hundred paintings in a year – for lovers of cat paintings.
Painted in: 1939
Now that we have finally reached the end of the list, we all know how important cats have been to human civilization.
In fact, now more than ever, cats have become an indispensable part of our lives.
The tradition of honoring cats in form of cat portraits has continued. The only difference is, you do not have to pose or make your cat pose for hours to get hold of a handmade painting.
Imagine making your cat sit still. Sounds like a fairytale, right?
It is the world of technology and all you have to do is click a picture instantly.
But the problem remains that it won’t be a handmade painting.
Well, well, well…you are exactly where you need to be!
At PortraitFlip, we turn the photos of your cat into 100% handmade cat paintings.
You or your cat does not have to sit still – gone are the days!
Have a photo? Convert it into a handmade cat painting.
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That’s all folks!
Let us know which one of these is your favorite famous cat painting.
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