Did Vincent van Gogh have a cat?

Today is a good day to ask whether Vincent van Gogh had a cat because on this day in 1890, Vincent van Gogh shot himself once in the chest. He was aged 37 and it took him two days to die in the company of his beloved brother Theo. Despite being a superb artist, now celebrated as one of the all-time greats, at the time he was unknown and broke.

Letter from Vincent van Gogh headed with sketch including a cat. Image copyright free due to lapse of time (believed).

I can find two works of art by him in which a cat is included; there may be more and if so I’ll add them later. In the first, I have published a letter from Vincent van Gogh which has a heading of an sketch drawn by him in which there is a black cat. It is called “Daubingny’s Garden with Black Cat”. The letter was sent from Auvers in 1890, the last year of his life.

Vincent van Gogh’s sketch of hand with bowl and cat

In the second sketch called “Hand with Bowl and Cat” we see a cat resting with a slightly anthropomorphised face which was typical of the time together with a hand grasping a bowl. It was created with black chalk on laid paper while Vincent lived in the village of Nuenen in 1885, which was five years before his death. As he preferred to draw from live models it is suggested that the cat was present with him at the time. This sketch is at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Nuenen is the home to the Van Gogh Village Museum.

The website, “Why Van Gogh Matters” tells us that a popular children’s book was published in 2010 called Vincent Van Gogh’s Cat. It was written and illustrated by schoolkids from East Washington Academy in Munice, Indiana. They were assisted by Deborah Brown. The book is credited with introducing children to art and inspiring generations of children to take it up.

P.S. There are many spoof paintings and pictures of cats as Vincent van Gogh on the internet. A merging of two popular subjects: cats and Vincent.

Cats In Advertising

Cats have been used extensively in advertising. A specific poster got me onto the subject. It is not strictly advertising ...
Read More

Girl with a Kitten by Lucian Freud

From time to time I like to write about cats in paintings. This is one by Lucian Freud which he ...
Read More

Cat Sculpture by Grayson Perry

This is a photograph of Grayson Perry's sculpture of a cat which he has uploaded to Twitter hours ago. I ...
Read More

The sex symbolism behind the cat in Hockney’s Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy

The all-white cat gazing out of the balcony doors to the exterior, in David Hockney's painting Mr and Mrs Clark ...
Read More

Édouard Manet loved cats and many of his letters have small sketches of cats

This is a little bit of cat trivia. It is not going to change the world but it is quite ...
Read More

These fluffy cats are some of the most intricate drawings you’ll ever see

This is the art of Kamwei Fong. He is a smart guy and he lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Below ...
Read More
Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

Recent Posts

Russian stray cat survives minus 27 degrees Celsius

Below is a stitched together narrative from many Twitter tweets in Russian (translated by Google)…

2 hours ago

How many cats are there in the UK 2020?

You have to specify the date in order to accurately state the number of cats…

7 hours ago

4 reasons why you might think that your pet is like you

I can think of four possible reasons why you might think that your cat or…

9 hours ago

Two steps in detecting and removing cat urine

Background Sometimes you suspect that either your cat or an intruding cat has sprayed urine…

21 hours ago

How do I stop my cat scratching the carpet and furniture?

There are three points to make in response to the question in the title. The…

22 hours ago

4 books you might buy a cat lover this Christmas

Of course, there are more than four books that you might buy a cat lover…

1 day ago