Henri Cartier-Bresson A master of street photography and the father of modern photojournalism, Henri Cartier-Bresson loved cats and thought of them as fellow anarchist allies, stating, “I'm an anarchist, yes. Because I'm alive. Life is a provocation.... I'm against people in power and what that imposes upon them. Anglo-Saxons have to learn what anarchism is. For them, it's violence. A cat knows what anarchy is. Ask a cat. A cat understands. They're against discipline and authority. A dog is trained to obey. Cats can't be. Cats bring on chaos."
Edward Gorey It should come as no surprise that the illustrator of T.S. Elliott’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats would love the animals as well. Gorey was known as much for his odd, curmudgeonly ways as he was for his illustrations, and he was also known for having many cats in his home. Gorey adored his cats, even when they destroyed his work.
Andy Warhol In the 1970s, Andy Warhol’s boyfriend suggested they get a dachshund, and they adopted a dog they named Archie. Not long after, Andy began to take Archie wherever he went—the studio, art openings, restaurants, and even to interviews. When asked a question he didn’t want to answer, Warhol would deflect questions to Archie.
Georgia O’Keeffe After moving to New Mexico, Georgia O’Keeffe brought home a chow dog, which would be the first of many. Over the course of her lifetime, O’Keeffe owned six chows, eventually becoming a member of The Chow Chow Club, Inc. in 1972. During a trip to visit Liontamer Kennels, O’Keeffe described Dr. Sam Monroe’s chows as eloquently as one would expect from a woman who made her career painting flowers, “…and this one is a magnificent scarlet pin cushion.”
René Magritte Paul Simon’s 1983 song titled “René and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War” wasn’t a big hit, but it shows how much the framed Belgian surrealist loved his dog Lou-Lou. In 1922, Magritte married his wife Georgette and adopted Lou-Lou whom he regularly brought to art openings.
Henri Matisse Leader of the Fauvist movement, Henri Matisse loved bold colors and simple forms. He also loved cats. In the mornings, he fed his cats Minouche, Coussi, and la Puce (the Flea) pieces of brioche. In his final years, Matisse continued to create art, working from his bed accompanied by his cats.
Norman Rockwell Norman Rockwell painted his fair share of dogs for the Saturday Evening Post. Known for his idyllic depictions of American life, Rockwell considered dogs a central part of the American experience. He preferred mutts over purebreds and had many dogs during his lifetime. One in particular named Pitter frequently accompanied Rockwell in his studio.
Pablo Picasso Celebrated Spanish painter Pablo Picasso’s eccentricity extended to his treatment of his beloved pets. Of the many dogs he had, his dachshund named Lump is the most well-known, thanks in part to a book written by the dog’s original owner, David Douglas Duncan, about Picasso’s relationship with the pooch. Lump accompanied Picasso everywhere and was immortalized in many of his works (he even has his own Wikipedia page).
Romare Bearden Described by the New York Times as “the nation’s foremost collagist,” Bearden experiment with many styles, mediums, and techniques throughout his career. One thing that never changed was his affinity for felines. Among his many cats were Tuttle, Rusty, Mikie, and Gippo. Bearden described Gippo (pictured above) as, "Well, Gippo is I think a very handsome cat. He's perfectly symmetrically striped with gray and tan markings. We found him in the woods and he has a little wildcat in him and it took a long time, about six or eight months, when he was a young kitten, to get him trained. But now he's happy. The studio he feels is his. It's hard to keep a cat like that for any length of time in a cage at a veterinarian's. So we took him and it worked out quite all right."
Salvador Dali Surrealist Salvador Dali was gifted two ocelots, also known as dwarf leopards, named Babou and Bouba by the Colombian Head of State. These wildcats are native to Central and South America. Known as a pioneer of surrealism, and for his eccentric appearance and behavior, it is no surprise that he delighted in shocking others with his exotic animals, often taking them to restaurants.
Frida Kahlo Frida Kahlo kept a menagerie at her home, Casa Azul, in Coyoacán, Mexico. She suffered greatly in her life from her tragic accident that resulted in infertility and depression, to her tumultuous relationship with Diego Rivera, and other hardships that she used as inspiration for her work. Of the 143 paintings she created in her lifetime, 55 of them are self-portraits with her animals. Fulang Chang and Caimito de Guayabal were her spider monkeys, Bonito was her Amazon parrot, she also had an eagle named Gertrudis Caca Blanca, a fawn named Granizo, a xoloitzcuintle (Mexican hairless dog breed) and an assortment of birds.
David Hockney Photographer, painter, printmaker, and set designer David Hockney owned two beloved dachshunds named Stanley and Boodgie in the 1990s. The two served as inspiration for his exhibition at Yorkshire’s Salts Mill entitled Dog Days, comprised of 45 studies of the pups. For three months, Hockney set up easels around his house in order to quickly capture the dogs in various natural poses. Dog Days was published as a book by Thames & Hudson.