Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Paul Hoecker's painting of a girl with a large black cat

This painting — titled "Girl with Cat" and featured in the 1943 songbook "Rhythms and Rimes" — caught my eye because the huge black cat reminds me of one of the beefy felines in our household.

Specifically, it reminds me of Mr. Bill, our brain-damaged, fledgling heifer of a cat that howls at bugs, chases laser-pointer lights up walls, eats Cheeze-Its and spends endless hours intently watching our dwarf hamster's cage, which is forever out of his reach.1

The painting was done in 1887 by German artist Paul Hoecker (1854-1910).2 It appears as if Hoecker might have "signed" his work on one of the tiles in the upper-left portion of the painting. Agree?

Within "Rhythms and Rimes," Hoecker's "Girl with Cat" is featured on a page opposite the children's song "The Girl with the Cat,"3 which goes like this:
I have a little kitty,
I'm very fond of her;
I give her milk and crackers,4
And stroke her silky fur.
We sit before the fire,
She sleeps upon my knee.5
I'm very fond of kitty
And kitty is fond of me.

Footnotes
1. Mr. Bill was previously featured in "Witches and zombies and scarecrows! Oh my!" and "A whole mess of lazy on a Sunday afternoon."
2. The only decent biography of Hoecker (at right) that I could find is on the German-language Wikipedia.
3. "The Girl with the Cat" features lyrics by Mabel Livingstone and music by Mana-Zucca.
4. Cheeze-Its, perhaps?
5. Most of our cats won't fit on my knee.

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