Cat's as a Popular Theme

At the ends of the XIX Century an explosion of popular art was produced in form of advertising signs, fundamentally as a result of the advances in the publishing in color.

The advertising became more sophisticated, although it was basically concentrated on home products, from soap to cacao. What better way of suggesting home pleasure than using a cat? Nevertheless, they were cats that represented human roles, for which the image of cats was degraded.

A painter specialized in popular paintings of anthropomorphous cats that, however, combined this activity with a great passion toward felines was Louis Wain, born in 1860.

In 1884, the rotative illustrated, London News, published the first illustrations of Wain. Wain´s cats, reproduced on hundreds of postal cards and illustrated year books, usually had on spectacles and ties, would be walking on it is hind legs, having tea and behave as members of the middle class.

However, Wain also knew how to paint portraits of realist cats without any sentimentalism. He won the respect of the cats in the world, until he became in the second president of the British National cat club.

His progress, or more likely his back goings, as a painter of cats are of interest for those that study mental illness, due that with the insanity of his last years (he died in 1939), his cats became more extravagant and frantic: the tender pets of his years of success became in terrible hairy monsters.

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