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The Cats, 1868

Édouard Manet
French, 1832 - 1883
drypoint and aquatint on ivory wove paper
26 x 33.8 cm; plate: 17.2 x 21.8 cm; framed 58.4 x 73.7 cm
Purchased 1990
National Gallery of Canada (no. 30857)

This etching is related to a commission for a poster advertising the release of Jules Champfleury's book "Les Chats - Histoire, Moeurs, Observations, Anecdotes". Here Manet studies the cat's playfulness and the unguarded moments of its life. The cat often made an appearance in his painting, most controversially at the foot of the nude model in "Olympia" of 1863. In this print Manet departs from his usual Spanish influences to draw upon the planar areas of form and tone that are characteristic of Japanese woodcuts.

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