In this work, Pierre-Auguste Renoir depicts a casually intimate moment from daily life that anyone on the Internet can appreciate: a cat snuggle! Renoir focuses on the sensuous contact of the model’s skin with the cat’s fur, and convincingly renders the different textures. The woman pictured is Nini Lopez, one of Renoir’s preferred models in the 1870s. Described by his friend Georges Rivière as “meticulous, serious, discreet,” Lopez’s professionalism stood out in contrast to some of the era’s more impetuous and unruly models.
Now on view in Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art.
Pierre-Augusts Renoir (French, 1841-1919). Woman with a Cat, c. 1875. Oil on canvas. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin E. Levy. 1950.12.1