Monday, December 24, 2012

Did Vincent Van Gogh Have a Cat?

[I feel] like a cat in unfamiliar surroundings. -- Vincent in a letter  to brother Theo, 1878

In 2010, a popular children's book was published by Scholastic called Vincent Van Gogh's Cat.  What made the book so unusual was that it was written and illustrated by second grade kids from East Washington Academy in Munice, Indiana, with help from an adult named Deborah Brown.

This little book has introduced many chidren to art and not just Van Gogh's art.  This has even inspired a new generation of artists, such as Mrs. Maynard's kindergartener art class.

However, there 's no evidence that Van Gogh ever had a cat. After he lost his job at an art dealer's in London, he became impoverished.  He couldn't feed himself, let alone a pet cat. 

It could be argued that Vincent was the pet of his younger brother Theo, who inancially supported Vincent for most of the artist's life.

This sketch, "Hand with Bowl and Cat" was done in black chalk on laid paper while Vincent lived in the village of Nuenen in 1885, five years before his death.  Vincent preferred to draw from models, so chances are high that this sketch was based on a real sleeping cat around Neunen.  The once worthless sketch now resides at the Van Gogh Museum in Amesterdam.  No word as to how much the sketch is worth now.  Neunen is now home to the Van Gogh Village Museum.

Below is a sketch from one of Vincent's letters from Auvers in 1890 (the last year of his life), "Daubingny's Garden with Black Cat."


  1. He sure as hell was not able to draw a cat or hands...

  2. He sure as hell was not able to draw a cat or hands...