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Fluffy and playful

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In painting, cats are depicted in every possible way: rolled up in a basket, playing with a ball of wool, frolicking or climbing in the curtains. These fluffy and curious, but also stubborn critters provide domesticity and excitement. Not only in living rooms, but also on paintings. A professional woman with unprecedented artistic qualities, Henriette Ronner-Knip, was able to depict the life of cats on canvas like no other.

Henriette Ronner-Knip | A kitten observing a fly, oil on paper laid down on board, 21.8 x 31.2 cm, signed l.r.

Henriette Ronner-Knip

painting • for sale

A kitten observing a fly

Henriette Ronner-Knip | Dozing kittens, oil on panel, 19.0 x 24.5 cm, signed u.l.

Henriette Ronner-Knip

painting • for sale

Dozing kittens

Henriette Ronner-Knip | Kittens playing with a Japanese parasol, oil on paper laid down on panel, 27.3 x 36.8 cm, signed l.r. and l.l. and painted ca. 1890

Henriette Ronner-Knip

painting • previously for sale

Kittens playing with a Japanese parasol, ca. 1890

Henriette Ronner-Knip | Kittens playing with a sweing box, oil on panel, 25.0 x 33.5 cm, signed l.r. and dated '94

Henriette Ronner-Knip

painting • for sale

Kittens playing with a sweing box, 1894

For a long time, only the learning path through family was open to women with artistic talent. This was no different for Henriette and she learned the trade from her father, Josephus Augustus Knip, who often painted livestock and landscapes. In her father’s studio, emphasis was placed on the elaboration of details, balanced compositions and a balance between light and dark areas. Unlike her father, Henriette was primarily interested in small pets and she painted many dogs early in her career. Hunting dogs and draft dogs in particular caught her attention. She began painting cats around 1870, a subject she is still known for today. She flawlessly found the sometimes calm, sometimes playful or inquisitive nature of cats and managed to convey the texture of their fur, eyes and colours.

Henriette Ronner-Knip | Portrait of a cat, charcoal on paper, 25.2 x 23.5 cm, signed l.r.

Henriette Ronner-Knip

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

Portrait of a cat

With the cat as subject, the painter responded to the taste of the emerging rich bourgeoisie who bought art. In domestic life, the cat had become a popular pet, increasing the demand for her paintings. In addition, the emerging interest in cat paintings was probably fueled by one of the first cat exhibitions to be held at London’s Crystal Palace in 1871. Henriette was even commissioned by the British nobility to immortalize their aristocratic cats on canvas. She painted the animals as delicate creatures that take over the rich lives of their owners. She harmoniously depicts the cats playing, sleeping and crawling on and over the precious furniture and luxurious fabrics that were so popular with the rich bourgeoisie. That this woman’s talent was seen and appreciated by contemporaries can be seen from an English review in the Illustrated London News in 1893: ‘The artists who have succeeded in rendering the cat may be counted on the fingers of one hand – the Japanese Hokusai, the Swiss Mind, the English Burbank, the French Lambert, and the Dutch Mme. Ronner – and the greatest of these, the one who has succeeded absolutely and all around, is the last, the lady. ”

Henriette Ronner-Knip | Three kittens, watercolour on paper, 10.5 x 14.5 cm, signed u.l. and dated '96

Henriette Ronner-Knip

watercolour • drawing • for sale

Three kittens, 1896

Attie Dyserinck | Sleeping cat and kittens in a basket, pastel on paper, 31.9 x 40.0 cm, signed l.r. with initials

Attie Dyserinck

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

Sleeping cat and kittens in a basket

Cornelis Raaphorst | Three kittens playing, oil on canvas, 40.4 x 50.7 cm, signed l.l.

Cornelis Raaphorst

painting • for sale

Three kittens playing

Sorella | Woolha, oil on painter's board, 59.2 x 71.2 cm, signed l.l.


painting • for sale


She had a special and unique way of working to create the anecdotal scenes. Henriette started by sketching a still life about the chalk or charcoal study. Such a still life often consisted of an interior with richly equipped furniture, various types of textile and special objects such as games, globes or musical instruments. The painter then placed the mischievous companion animals in this performance. In the garden behind her house was the “foyer des artistes”, where borrowed cats always stayed. For her paintings, use was made of a special cat furniture, a kind of glass cabinet, in which she could observe both the animals she wanted to sketch at rest and the young kittens that would otherwise shoot in all directions.

Evert van Hemert | The cat with holes, bronze, 55.0 x 116.0 cm, signed on the base and executed in 2017

Evert van Hemert

statue • sculpture • for sale

The cat with holes, 2017