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Idol for House Cats, 1924

Paul Klee

Swiss, 1879-1940
Watercolor, oil transfer drawing and lace collage on chalk-primed muslin, mounted on thin cardboard
comp: 13-7/8 x 18-1/4 in. (35.2 x 46.4 cm); mount: 15-3/8 x 19-3/4 in. (39.1 x 50.2 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
P.1953.057
© Norton Simon Museum

Not on view

Klee had a great fondness for cats. He had many cats for pets, and made them subjects in his pictures. Klee's wit is evident in both the subject and the technique. The idol is an image of totemic feline detachment. Its full face with large staring eyes is a perfect sacred icon for pampered house cats. Yet this aloofness is mitigated by the decorative black lace mantilla and the pursed, prim, heart-shaped mouth.

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