Gino Severini

The Black Cat

1910-1911
Gino Severini was affiliated with the Italian Futurists, an avant-garde movement inspired by transformations in the urban landscape. In their quest for modernity, the Futurists depicted the speed and energy of the newly mechanized world of the early twentieth century. This painting was included in the first Futurist exhibition of 1912 in Paris, and its title links it to Le Chat Noir, a famous Paris cabaret. The scene represented is based on a story by Edgar Allen Poe about a drunkard who blinds and later kills his cat, an action that ultimately culminates in revenge by another cat. Severini isolates the most crucial and dramatic elements of the story – the wine glass and the cats’ piercing stare – giving the narrative elements a spatial simultaneity characteristic of the Futurists.
Title
The Black Cat
Date
1910-1911
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
54.4 x 73 cm
Nationality
Italian
Credit line
Purchased 1956
Accession number
6441