Matisse: Famous Artists’ Cats comes to life in three versions. This one, George Meets Matisse Still Life, finds a cat as the only fully defined object in an imagined field of things.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
By David Stone
Henri Matisse, like Gustav Klimt, Pierre Bonnard and other famous artists, loved cats.
He occasionally drew or painted them, but mostly he enjoyed their soothing company, just as you and I do.
We’re not all so different, even those of us who are not artistic geniuses.
But we can go you one better. Our cat, George, also loves Matisse.
George was our first cat, and “as everybody knows,” cats don’t know art from wallpaper.
It lacks a strong, appetite-encouraging sent. It doesn’t move or dangle strings. Therefore, cats have no interest.
Tell it to George
We hung a framed Matisse print in over an antique hutch in our dining room. George loved to jump up on the hutch. It was a good place to get off the floor and watch the world’s going on. Once in a while, he’d take a meal there.
Soon, though, we noticed him staring directly at the Matisse print. It’s an expressionist symphony of softer colors with a vase and a leafy plant playing hide and seek in a window.
George spent a lot of time staring at that print, just like a visitor in a gallery stops to really sink into the art.
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We came to accept that our cat loved Matisse, just as we do. Then something extraordinary happened.
Some cats have abilities so extraordinary we find them hard to believe. Most are some sort of illusion or feline trickery. (They are good at trickery, after all.)
Cats we know have become invisible for long periods before reappearing with a “What’s the big deal?” look on their faces. Others go from one place to another in a exercise something like a quantum leap.
In other words, they go from here to there without ever being anywhere between. They leap.
Every cat we know reads minds and uses telepathy to communicate, and each is usually disappointed in the results. Fortunately, they love us anyway.
Anyway, we still found it incredible when George suddenly inserted himself in a Matisse still life.
One day, there he was, staring back at us as if he owned the colorful space full of fruits and birds flying in the background. And there he also was, sleeping like a lord on our sofa.
Sometimes, with cats, it’s best to just shake your head and accept the unexplainable truth.
George Meets Matisse found its way into Famous Artists Cats, a collection of cats in art for which there is no explanation except that cats just do astonishing things.