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Louis Wain's Cats

Louis Wain (English 1860-1939) was an artist who loved to paint cats, and he painted them in a variety of styles. When viewed in the sequence below, his Cat Pictures seem to reveal a person losing his grip on reality.


Do Louis Wain's cat pictures reflect a brain suffering from mental illness? People have speculated for years:
"Wain's schizophrenia may have been precipitated by Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite which is excreted by cats in their feces." —Nietzsche Girard Mimetism 
"Wain may have been suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder" —Scientific American
In fact, most of Wain's images are not dated, and he produced conventional cat pictures alongside highly patterned ones throughout his career. The sequence of images from cute to bizarre was arranged by psychologists to support their theories.
"The belief that his abstract drawings demonstrate the progressive deterioration of his mental state is quite likely a falsehood – the result of a claim made in a book called Psychotic Art that was published in the 1960s. All art should be considered as an expression of the artist and Wain’s progression into psychedelia is just one aspect of his creative identity." —Illustration Chronicles
It is known that Wain's life encompassed much unhappiness and anxiety, but without more concrete diagnostic information, we'll probably never really know exactly why he painted cats the way he did. Psychologists and art historians who infer mental states purely from artwork may be dancing on thin ice.

Wikipedia on Louis Wain
Book: Cat Compendium: The Worlds of Louis Wain


This post first appeared on Gurney Journey, please read the originial post: here

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Louis Wain's Cats

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