|A Seated Cat|
Gwen John, 1920
The Victoria & Albert Museum
The artist Gwen John (1876-1939) actually made several drawings and watercolor paintings of cats. The watercolor pictured above is doubtlessly the best known of the lot.
John’s body of work is clearly based on an appreciation of the figure. Each of her pieces focuses on the shape of a single figure—usually a woman in an interior. However, John was fascinated by the shape of any single being, taking exquisite care to replicate the curves and planes of each individual in intimate studies. By mirroring the shape of the subject, she endeavors to show its characteristic. Here, Gwen John uses the shape of the cat to reinforce the idea of feline isolation and aloofness.