Paul Gauguin’s, The Little Cat, has been hidden away in a private art collection for more than 100 years, but now it’s on display at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The piece was painted by Gauguin while he stayed with Van Gogh in the Yellow House, located in Aries.
Artistically, the cat depicted in The Little Cat followed Gauguin around during his travels. The cat first appeared in Martinique, a West Indian Island, in Gauguin’s piece, Tropical Island. In the piece, the cat is pictured with his front feet in a large dish of milk that he’s lapping up.
The cat appeared a year later in Aries in Gauguin’s The Little Cat.
A decade later, the cat appeared in Gauguin’s greatest masterpiece, Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? in Tahiti.
The Little Cat might look like a complete piece on its own, but it was likely actually part of a larger still life piece Gauguin was working on. It’s thought that Gauguin was dissatisfied with his composition and cut away three-quarters of it, saving only the top left corner where he’d depicted the cat.
Three years after Gauguin’s death, Gustave Fayet, a French collector and artist, acquired The Little Cat. Fayet died in 1925. The present owner of The Little Cat is not named, but presumably, one of Fayet’s descendents owns the piece.
The piece is currently being displayed among other paintings done by Gauguin and Van Gogh during their time together in the Yellow House at the Van Gogh Museum.
You can learn more about Paul Gauguin and The Little Cat here.
*Cover photo by Anna Yenina on Unsplash.