Cats and Art: A Match?

Famous Artists’ Cats Get The Picture

Picasso loved cats, and his cat loved to look at himself in the mirror, according to legend.

Picasso's Cat with Mirror
Picasso's Cat with Mirror
© Deborah Julian

Cats probably got the idea first but lacked a method. People keep shooing them off the computer.

But Famous Artists’ Cats sprang to life anyway when artist Deborah Julian, after another battle in the War of Cats on the Keyboard, wondered what it would’ve been like if the artists she got to know as an art history major had cats like hers.

What if they got into everything the artists worked on, deposited random cat hair in wet paint, walked on their palettes and generally tried to take over the business?

An eager for play tabby tempting ballet dancers with a ribbon in one of Edgar Degas’s ballet classes was easy to imagine.

Then, cats took control of Van Gogh's bedroom too, napping happily amid vivid colors.

Cats In Edward Hopper's Window

Edward Hopper's Cats
Edward Hopper's Cats
© Deborah Julian

A newer addition, Cats In Edward Hopper's Window, marked a creative change as she dreamed up ways for her cats to invade the American impressionist.

Until now, pictures for Famous Artists' Cats used digital copies of paintings for their basis. Cats got recruited for attitude. 

But in this one, Julian borrowed only Hopper's window frame and created the rest from what she loved about his art.

She gave Sam and Billy something to do, letting them enjoy a quiet afternoon while watching the urban world go by as some many of Hopper’s isolated people did.

Milk For Gauguin's Cat

Milk for Gauguin's Cat
Milk for Gauguin's Cat
© Deborah Julian

Paul Gauguin who was not known for happy domestic scenes, but in an unusual piece of work for him, he painted an odd picture in which three puppies gather to slurp from a deep pan of milk.

It’s a bit surreal and surreal isn’t required to make perfect sense, so never mind the distortions of the nearby still life setting or the disorienting surface blending floor with table. 

A thirsty cat likes a good drink when he or she can get one.

Why shouldn't Gauguin's cat share with the puppies? It looks like there's plenty to go around.

Cats in art are almost always fun. The humor here is gentle. Cats and dogs are all having a good time. 

Inspired by Edgar Degas' Hat Shop

The finer the art in which the cats get involved, the more beautiful the end result is likely to be.

In Cat In Degas' Hat Shop, Sam is captivated by the colorful ribbons and bows the painter thoughtfully included in this image of everyday life in Paris.

Famous Artists' Cats Gets Its Start

For the picture that launched Famous Artists’ Cats, Julian was inspired by Degas's pastels of ballet dancers.

A family cat, a golden tabby named Punky made perfect color match.

In Ballet Class Visitor Punky sits, wondering why stretching, an indulgence for cats, is so hard for dancers. He brought his own ribbon, hoping someone wants to play.

Ballet Class Visitor
Ballet Class Visitor
© Deborah Julian


Cats in Art: Cézanne's Cats

In a playful fusion of cats and art, Billy and Sam join George in a parody of Cézanne’s Apple Basket.

Cézanne was a genius with a reputation for rudeness, crude behavior in public and was maybe a little crazy.

What’s remembered most about him are landscapes that pioneered cubism and elaborate still lifes.

Cézanne's Cats
Cézanne's Cats
© Deborah Julian

Can you imagine the great and notoriously cranky Cézanne laboriously setting the table in his studios, the fruits freshly bought and carefully positioned, the tablecloth meticulously cleaned, and taking a place behind his easel as our curious boys wandered in to inspect as cats must?


Cats in art open up a whole new field of expression where color, appreciation and art abound. Extend the fun. Buy the book Famous Artists' Cats: The Book

You can see the above images and more for sale at Deborah Julian's Etsy Shop or on Amazon.

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