Registrar Susan Cary and archivist Rihoko Ueno find real life counterparts to some of the cats featured in our current exhibition.
Like the artists in our current exhibition, Before Internet Cats: Feline Finds from the Archives of American Art, many of our Archives colleagues are cat lovers. We thought it would be amusing to compare some of their cats to those in the exhibition, and here are the results!
Marzipan, the feline companion of archivist Sarah Mundy, could have easily have been one of Esther Baldwin Williams’ models for her sketches of cats. While Siamese and black cats seem to be a favorite among artists, the tortoiseshell patterns of calicos are just as appealing!
Artist Anne Arnold and editor of the Archives of American Art Journal Emily Shapiro understand the playful side of cats. While Stubbs enjoys his bunny companion, Emily’s cat Georgia takes a moment away from playtime with her toy mouse for a “cat” nap.
Moses Soyer captured the beautiful markings on his cat, Bright Eyes, in this illustrated letter to his son, David. Digital experience manager Michelle Herman’s cat, Cleocatra, could be a direct descendant of Bright Eyes.
Both artist Carolee Schneeman’s cat and registrar Susan Cary’s cat, Lola, keep a watchful eye out for movements outside during the quiet winter months. Perhaps they are anticipating spring?
Jay DeFeo’s cat, Pooh, perches in front of a “Be Calm” sign in her studio, but Chairman Meow, who also belongs to Michelle Herman, has mastered the art of tranquility and needs no reminding.
Archives digital imaging technician Sarah Mitrani’s feline, Lincoln, knows how to mug for the camera. Though he wasn’t the model for Miné Okubo’s painting, he would certainly have been an inspiration for the artist had they been contemporaries. Doppelgängers much?
Captain Henry McCuddlebugs
Emily Barto’s sketch of a kitten named “Kitzy” proves that cats have always known how to pose just so. Archivist Barbara Aikens’s cat Captain Henry McCuddlebugs is curled up and content, secure in the knowledge that, years later, cats rule the internet—as they knew they always would.
The exhibition Before Internet Cats: Feline Finds from the Archives of American Art is on view through October 29, 2017 in the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture (8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC). Admission is free.
Susan Cary is the registrar and collections manager for the Archives and a self-proclaimed feline fanatic.
Rihoko Ueno is an archivist and co-curator of the exhibition Before Internet Cats: Feline Finds from the Archives of American Art.