Calling all cat lovers and art enthusiasts! Here’s a new book to add to your reading list: Artists and Their Cats by Alison Nastasi. The recently released read is a fun insider’s look to charming behind-the-scenes stories of more than 50 famous artists and their cute kitten companions.
With artists including Salvador Dalí (pictured above), Agnès Varda (below), Henri Matisse, Wanda Gág, Andy Warhol, John Lennon, and Yoko Ono, the process of selection was purely gut instinct to the author. “Presenting a variety of artists with regards to things like gender and discipline was very important to me,” Nastasi tells InStyle. “The photos reveal an intimate side to each artist’s life. That tenacity and special bond between each individual and their cat, is so beautiful and admirable. For example, it was interesting to learn that Salvador Dalí and his Colombian ocelot, Babou, went everywhere together including restaurants, which spooked fellow diners.”
As mentioned in the book, the popularity of the sacred feline species stemmed long before the Internet fell in love with them. Throughout several thousand years, one thing has remained a constant: artists looked to cats as their muses (and best friends). An artist with two cats herself, Nastasi is also a weekend editor at Flavorwire, where a photo listicle she posted two years ago was the spark of inspiration for the book.
One highlight for the author while compiling research on the artists was having a chance to revisit their work. Using resources including some of the artist’s families and colleagues, Nastasi was able to find a few surprises along the way. “I was very moved by Henri Matisse (above), whose cats stayed by his side while he was often bed-ridden, but still working in his studio,” she says.
Flip through the book and find plenty more fun facts about artists including Wanda Gág (above). “I hope people will come away with a deeper appreciation for some of the artists and see how the photos offer an alternative view into their body of work,” says Nastasi. “There’s just something so fabulous about seeing a larger-than-life figure cradling an adorable cat in their arms!”
Want more Artists and Their Cats? Pick up a copy of the book ($17) at amazon.com.