About Me

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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Friday, July 12, 2013

girl and cat, 1914

thanks wikimedia commons (PD)
A pretty girl, a snoozyfaced kitten - this should be a feel-good, surface piece eliciting "awwws," yes?  So why do I feel this vague worry as to whether all is quite right here?  Part of the answer is in the upper right corner with the signature:  HV 14.  That's 1914, and the artist is Heinrich Vogeler (German, 1872-1942).  He was either about to join in or already enmeshed in the First World War, an experience which would add staunch belief in pacifism to his interest in bolstering the health and welfare of the working classes.  His earlier work had been cool, lyrical and Art Nouveau; this piece, probably portraying one of his three daughters, shows a tenderness and vulnerability not at all surprising in a father facing down a war with a family at home.  (Everyone in the family made it through that war, by the way.)  So you can see how this simple image of a girl waving her pet's little arms in the air somehow feels like a plea for mercy.  Hands up, please don't hurt me.

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